Did anyone ever tell Malcolm Turnbull why Australia’s largest conservative party is called the Liberal Party? I know it causes a lot of confusion throughout world politics, in fact, the last Prime Minister, Tony Abbott, tells a story about going to the United States as a rookie MP, where his hosts were told he is a vehement Liberal, and absolutely anti-republican (referring to the Australian republic referendum in 1999). Apparently, this meant that the conservative Abbott was introduced to almost solely communists during his visit to the country. A reasonable man cannot blame those people for making those assumptions, how were they to know better? But when home grown Australians get this wrong, it irritates many, not least of which when the Leader of the Liberal Party seems confused.
The creation of the Liberal Party of Australia was formally announced in Sydney Town Hall on the 31st of August, 1945, and was set up in order to create a stronger coalition against a powerful Australian Labor Party (centre-left political party). It was expressly anti-communist, was focused on free enterprise, and held all the staples of Classical Liberalism, for which it is named. The party’s constitution strikes a balance between the old views of European democracy, and cites both Edmund Burke and John Stuart Mill as important figures in the formulation of party philosophy.
Despite the Honourable Malcolm Turnbull believing none of these things in his heart, he still won by ten votes in a leadership spill motion for the party in September 2015. In his life prior to the Federal election in 2016, Turnbull described himself as a feminist, defending a woman’s right to choose to abort their child and believing in affirmative action to get more women in politics. The leftism ran further, as he held very progressive views on same-sex marriage and a myriad of other social issues. Turnbull also contemplated standing as a Labor candidate and was the key campaigner for the failed left wing movement to make Australia a republic. In fact, Abbott and Turnbull had heated discussions on television about the issue in question, all before Turnbull decided to stand for parliament. All of this was fine with Malcolm Turnbull, a lefty leading the conservative bull, until the 2016 Federal election, where the bull hit back an almost lethal blow. He then realised what the Liberal Party was all about, why it was named as such, and could no longer lie to himself thinking he was a good Liberal leader. The man lost 14 seats with a 3.5% swing against him and although the Coalition (Liberal and National Parties) still retained a narrow majority in the House of Representatives, it was a sign that perhaps the leadership would be more suited to a conservative Member of Parliament, like the man he axed in Tony Abbott.
Abbott, as portrayed by the left throughout the world, was not the best man to lead the party in terms of being good with the media, having a relatable personality or showing other leadership qualities required in this modern political milieu. He is however, undeniably, a man of strong moral conviction, and everyone is well aware of where he stands on every issue. Abbott is an honourable man who wasn’t trendy enough to lead, and Turnbull is a dishonourable man who shows many of the attributes of an old ‘Born to Rule’ type politician.
And so now, Australia is stuck with the watered down political swill that the world’s had to drink, where we have no way of knowing if we’ll see the real left wing Malcolm, or Turnbull the great actor. To make a good man of himself, he should formally resign from the Prime Ministership, and revoke his allegiance to the Liberal Party, because rightly or wrongly, he does not represent Australian conservatives. Of course, if you’ve ever seen Turnbull sauntering around Parliament House or in a conference with Barack Obama, you’ll see that the glint in the man’s eye is so noticeable, that he could never even think of giving up the job. So it is political irony that I pray for and it is that he is whitewashed in the next Federal election, by a passionate right wing Labor leader, and that all the Members and Senators of the Liberal Party, point and scream and shout across the chamber, “Now that’s a Liberal leader!”