Being the discerning lot that they are, Spectator Australia readers would have by now worked out that I am a social conservative and an economic dry, in the vein of my modern political heroes: Margaret Thatcher, Ronald Reagan, John Howard and Tony Abbott. Mr Abbott, granted, could be considered less of an economic dry for sure, but I venture to say that he and I share the same Catholicism of another of my heroes: George Cardinal Pell: standing four-square with the Magisterium of the Church and Catholic Orthodoxy.
In a piece back in May, I stated that I have not voted Liberal since 2016, having previously done so all my life, since in my view the Liberal Party no longer espouses the values which its founder and this country’s greatest prime minister, laid out. Menzies would be appalled at what his Liberal Party has become. It no longer advocates for the “forgotten class – the middle class who, properly regarded, represent the backbone of this country … taken for granted by each political party in turn”.
I am not alone. As Charles Pier reported in this Flat White piece recently, around 30% of Coalition voters are questioning whether the government deserves another term. We now have four or five new parties whose putative constituents would have once been natural Liberal/National voters. Of all of these alternatives, if I had to vote today, I just might choose the Liberal Democrats.
That statement might shock friends and acquaintances. Campbell Newman’s views on social issues are a mile away from mine. However, I will never compromise my opposition to abortion, euthanasia, gay “marriage” etc., thus excluding the possibility of any candidacy on my part. Yet, social conservatives are not excluded from membership of the Liberal Democrats, a bit like the ‘broad church’ John Howard wanted the Liberals to be. The Liberal Democrats do not support the woke LBGQIT+ agenda, either. Their position during the gay “marriage” debate was that government should be removed from marriage, bar recognising couples. I disagree with that position. But let’s not forget a significant minority of non-Catholics voted for B.A. Santamaria’s DLP. And how many people voted for Howard and Hawke even though they didn’t agree with them on everything, but were persuaded to do so because of their conviction to make Australia a better country?
To those who beg to differ, I say this.
Australia is at a point where we need to look at a bigger picture. We have forgotten how to live because we have been made afraid to die of something that has a 99.7% recovery rate. We are in a war for our fundamental way of life. When a pregnant woman can be arrested in her own home in front of her children, when the inalienable right to free speech is being suppressed violently (unless you belong to BLM, or Extinction Rebellion), when dying cancer patients cannot see their children because of “The Science”, yet “The Science” doesn’t apply to sports stars, politicians, Brett Sutton and Hollywood actors, we on the conservative (that is to say, once Liberal/National voters) side, need to band together to send the Coalition a message. All of us, social conservatives and economic dries, have reason to be very aggrieved with the Coalition and the current tenant of the Lodge in particular, who has no conviction whatsoever.
Scott Morrison says he believes in informed consent and personal responsibility for what we put into our bodies and has stated that he respects the views of those who wish to refuse abortion-tainted vaccines, but will mandate them anyway. On this, Morrison, his government and state premiers seem determined to gaslight the public, labelling those who are unvaccinated as ‘a threat to public health’, when evidence from around the world is demonstrating that any benefit conferred by the vaccine is entirely personal, which benefit may not be that great – just look at Israel. Ergo, as Graeme Young wrote last week, vaccine apartheid, whether proposed by governments or private enterprise, serves no good point. And if there is no point, then they are an infringement on basic human rights. No ifs, no buts.
It was Scott Morrison who said “free speech doesn’t create a single job”. It was Scott Morrison who convicted ADF personnel before they had even been tried. It was Scott Morrison who failed to defend the principle that underpins Australia’s Constitution: one indissoluble Commonwealth. After three terms in government, the Coalition has not enacted even modest industrial relations reform, or acted to appoint conservative High Court judges, or to rein in SBS and the ABC. Now it is creeping toward net-zero emissions by 2050. How many jobs of the quiet Australians will that cost?
Over the last 18 months, the Coalition government has spent billions bailing out lockdown happy authoritarian premiers, enabling their tyrannical behaviour. No wonder Marshal Mark and Princess Ananstacia are giving the federal government the proverbial middle finger on opening up their borders.
The record debt Morrison and Frydenburg have racked up isn’t the only fiscal problem. Consider this: Australia’s personal and corporate tax rates are among the highest among OECD member countries. Australia has an over-reliance on personal income tax over consumption taxes – almost half at 41%. The Coalition has done nothing about this in three terms. Why would it do anything in a fourth?
Here’s one last thought. In 1942 Australia’s federation was under threat because of the Uniform Tax Case. With the Commonwealth wanting to take over income taxation powers to fund the war effort, the States took the Commonwealth to the High Court, and lost. After that, all banded together to defeat the common enemy, the Axis Powers. In 1942 the Japanese bombed Darwin and Broome, and Australia was under serious threat of invasion.
As Campbell Newman has said, it is time to save Australia. In an interview of Senator Jim Molan by former Deputy Prime Minister John Anderson on his podcast series, Conversations with John Anderson, Molan and Anderson argue that the first line of defence is for a nation to be united around its shared values. What are the core values conservatives share? Lower taxes, smaller government, reward for individual effort, defence of the family and the importance of national sovereignty, the rule of law and, above all, individual liberty.
If you are not attracted to the Liberal Democrats, there are alternatives, as I noted above. There is goodwill and good relations between the minor parties on the right. They are different but let’s see which one of them emerges from the pack. I suspect at least one will. Therefore, I implore all those parties to work together as closely as humanly possible to fight effectively the common foes in this new war we are in against Covid hysteria and the ruling class fuelling it that are killing what was once among the best countries in the world.
Dr Rocco Loiacono is a senior lecturer at Curtin Law School.
The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Curtin University.