The Sensible Centre

The Sensible Centre

By Erin Archer

In recent weeks the Liberal party has been the topic of much discussion.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull created division in the coalition, following his speech in London which saw him state the Liberal Party was never meant to be a conservative one.

His rejection of conservatism as a founding Liberal party principle, has provoked reactions from both within and outside his party.

During the speech, where Mr Turnbull was receiving the Disraeli Prize awarded by UK think tank Policy Exchange, he explained his party’s longest leader Sir Robert Menzies wanted to create a progressive party not a conservative one.

“In 1944 Menzies went to great pains not to call his new political party, consolidating the centre right of Australian politics, conservative, but rather the Liberal Party, which he firmly anchored in the centre of Australian politics,” he said.

“The sensible centre was the place to be. It remains the place to be.”

Prominent conservative commentator Alan Jones, has predicted these comments will push some Liberals to leave the party, and join the likes of One Nation or Cory Bernadi’s Australian Conservatives.

Both of those parties have taken advantage of the remarks, with Mr Bernadi opening up a sales pitch of sorts, urging conservative Liberals to join his party instead.

The South Australian senator controversially split from the Liberal party in February this year, to lead his own party after being concerned the Liberals were starting to lean too far to the left.

“If you’re a conservative, and you’re not welcome in the Turnbull Liberal team, you need to come to the home of conservatism and that is Australian Conservatives,” Senator Bernardi said.

One Nation leader Pauline Hanson also enthusiastically embraced the PM’s comments, and claimed her party is now “Australia’s largest conservative party”.

Meanwhile Opposition leader Bill Shorten has jumped on the chance to try and derail the government, saying the Coalition is having an identity crisis and have forgotten what their real job is.

“What everyone knows is that this is a government which is lacking leadership. They’re so self-absorbed with their navel-gazing they’re not talking about jobs and wages and energy prices and the things which really matter to everyday Australians,” Mr Shorten said.

However coming to Mr Turnbull’s aid, is senior cabinet ministers Josh Frydenberg, Julie Bishop and Christopher Pyne, who all agree with his comments.

The Attorney General, George Brandis, is perhaps the most credentialed parliamentary Liberal on the topic as he wrote his university honors thesis on Liberal Party Ideology, and he also wrote a chapter in the 2009 book “Liberal’s In Power”.

Mr Brandis spoke to the ABC on the topic.

With the Liberal Party in the spotlight due to these constant controversies, as well as loud commentary by former prime minister Tony Abbott about how he thinks the party should be run, there is bound to be more to come in the argument that the Liberals, are drifting to the left.

About author

earche04 72 posts

Erin joined the NRN team straight after graduating from a Bachelor of Communications (Journalism) at Charles Sturt University in 2016.

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