The Australian Liberal Party looks like an out-of-control forest fire, with exploding embers of an outbreak fueling fires in other areas.
In the past month, the party had two leadership contests, a change of party leader and prime minister, a change of deputy party leader, a dramatic preselection vote in the seat of a former liberal prime minister and an almost cooking victory in the seat of another former liberal prime minister.
As if that were not enough, there is shock and anger among female Liberal MPs about their treatment during the run-up to the change in leadership of 24 August, reports that some Liberal MPs – along with the Labor opposition – are the failed leader of the leadership, Peter Dutton, want to refer to the Supreme Court about his suitability to sit in Parliament, and on October 20 at the election where a liberal loss would result in a minority government. The issues were further complicated by the announcement of the Federal Liberal Representative Ann Sudmalis on Monday that she will not contest the next election.
As any psychiatrist with a rudimentary understanding of politics would understand, there is no good time for a political party to act, but especially not when it has at least temporarily lost its parliamentary majority, ticking the clock at two forthcoming state elections in Victoria and NSW and next year a federal election – probably in May.
In a peculiar role reversal, the ruling party of Robert Menzies has become fractal and fissipair, going back to the 50s & 60s in the ALP, when headlines like & # 39; New Labor Split Looms & # 39; were the order of the day.
To understand what is happening with today's Liberal Party, another analogy is illustrative. It experiences a series of aftershocks after the earthquake of the deposition of Malcolm Turnbull as party leader, but the shocks show no sign of waning; they could even deteriorate.
While the aftershocks continue, it is premature to describe the new character, let alone the core, of the post-Malcolm Turnbull coup Liberal Party, past warlike equations. One prominent veteran compares it privately with a wounded soldier covered with impregnated bandages, "except that the bandages always peel and the blood flows everywhere".
In the midst of this massacre and controversially, however, there are two important developments. Combined, they can have a significant impact on how the Liberal Party performs in the crucial next six months, and how it goes in the forthcoming federal elections. The first is that, as said, the party has not only turned away from the unitary coat left by party founder Sir Robert Menzies, but paradoxically, in at least two important cases, it has its own, more recent view of itself as a faction – that is, conservatives versus moderates – party.
This was reflected in the marathon pre-selection process of last Thursday in the former electorate of Malcolm Turnbull from Wentworth. Moderate power brokers in the NSW branch, plus the more conservative prime minister Scott Morrison, preferred city councilor and company figure Katherine O & # 39; Regan for the nomination.
However, Mrs. Regan performed poorly in the light of many of the 200 party deputies at the preselection meeting, especially in her regular presentation, and delegates went to the benefit of former Australian diplomat Dave Sharma, who is in fact out of alignment, as the six hour process went on.
More importantly, the near-boilover at a crucial Liberal Party meeting was deep in the NSW geographical heart of Sydney's north coast the following evening in the Balgowlah RSL Club. The apparent reason for the meeting was to include the "approval" of the former party leader, a one-time prime minister and the liberal MP, Tony Abbott, as once again the candidate in the Warringah liberal stronghold.
The meeting itself was meant for delegates from the Federal Choernorate Council of Warringah of the Liberal Party, or FEC. Apart from the "approval phase", the meeting was also held to re-elect members of the Warringah FEC CEO. These positions are worship services but exert a powerful influence on critical preselections for safe Liberal seats.
After the meeting began, the formal "endorsement" process – which normally resembles a ritual coronation – broke into screams and curses. The vote was secret, but on Monday the party decided to announce that Mr. Abbott received 68 votes, while 30 members voted against him and two members held informal votes.
Abbott's allies from the old Warringah FEC executive structure had refused to follow the normal procedure and declare the result.
Later, former Woolworths CEO and one-time Fairfax chairman Roger Corbett was elected as Abbott's FEC chairman, replacing Mr Abbott's main ally, Walter Villatora, in a switch that was forecast. But the shock came later in the evening when Mr. Villatora also failed to secure the FEC vice-president's lock, a position that went to Lee Furlong, a director of the NSW taxi board, or another VP function. who went to the former president of the Young Liberals, Alex Dore.
For political observers the importance of the almost boilover is that Mr. Abbott still has his doubts after the next election. The broader meaning is that Mr. Abbott was the leader, if not the leader, of the August 24 party room putsch against his successor as leader and prime minister of the liberal party, Malcolm Turnbull. One of the reasons that justified this rebellion was that Mr. Turnbull, an instinctive political center, was too far removed from "the base," and yet it was the same "base" that rebelled against Mr. Abbott instead. .
Meanwhile, the new Prime Minister, Scott Morrison, speaks against it all: the conservatives, moderates, social-conservatives, economic globalists, local believers, dissatisfied female MPs and others from the liberal party. His approach is a kind of airy moderation combined with a combative attitude towards critics, particularly in the media, with phrases such as & # 39; conspiracy theories & # 39; and words like & # 39; lies & # 39; to wipe them away.
There is also a refuge to that great Churchillian tactic of the defeating joke. Walking across the boardwalk on the beautiful Bronte Beach in Sydney with Dave Sharma, the recently endorsed liberal candidate for Wentworth, Morrison was summoned by a reporter from one of the News Corporation newspapers at a press conference.
Morrison grabbed him theatrically, and asked: "Mate, is it? & # 39;
Scott Morrison knows that as long as he is in the ring, accidental events or mistakes by his opponents can bring the liberal party back into battle. But it is a big question.