Australian Politics – Kevin Andrews: Liberal Party Members Have Lost The Voter’s Confidence

Posted on Sat 04/21/2018 by


By Andrew Bolt ~

I gave a speech to a celebratory dinner last night – 240 guests – for Liberal MP Kevin Andrews, and am afraid I rather tore into the Turnbull Government. (TonyfromOz adds here that the Liberal Party is the larger of the two major Conservative Political parties in Australia)

I felt awkward, given there were Ministers there.

But then Andrews spoke. Bang.

For instance, Andrews (pictured) attacked his own government by noting the obvious – that it had lost the confidence of the public and seemed to be drifting without any clear purpose:

My task tonight is to thank our guest speaker, Andrew Bolt, for his remarks. In doing so, I wish to reflect briefly on the challenges ahead.

When many of us gathered in this room seven years ago, to mark my 20th anniversary in Parliament, I remarked that we faced “the dangerous confluence of a weak Labor government, which in the words of the previous Prime Minister [Rudd], regards politics as being primarily about ‘the power of the State’; and a rampant Greens movement that would destroy the economic, cultural and social foundations of the nation.”

We met that challenge, winning government back after just two terms in opposition. We did so by reflecting the concerns of the Australian people, and promising to address the issues facing the nation.

Yet just a few years later, we have lost their confidence, and are seen as drifting without clear direction or purpose.

Our urgent task is to listen, learn and lead: to listen to the Australian people; learn of their issues, concerns and aspirations; and provide leadership with clear policies and programs that will address the challenges we face.

Andrews noted – again, correctly – what seems to be top-of-mind concerns among many voters:

As many of you know, I spent last week riding my bicycle from Melbourne to Canberra…

Not only did we raise money for a worthy cause, SoldierOn, which supports the veterans of recent military engagements in Iraq and Afghanistan, we had the opportunity to meet hundreds of Australians along the way.

From the veterans at RSL clubs in the eastern suburbs of Melbourne to the workers in the LaTrobe Valley; from the CFA members at Glengarry to the Salvo store volunteers at Bairnsdale; from the farmers in the front bar of the Omeo pub to the shopkeepers and townsfolk at Tallangatta and Corryong, we encountered hundreds of fellow Australians…

At the top of the list of people’s concerns are population increases and energy sustainability. Faced with congested roads, inadequate public transport, high housing prices and soaring electricity costs for individual households and businesses, Australians want government to provide clear responses to these challenges.

They are bewildered at the disconnect between national policies for example, to increase immigration, and the struggle of the states and territories to build vital infrastructure. They are dismayed by governments that refuse to use the vast reserves of coal and gas we possess – and sell to other countries – while subsidising unreliable, costly renewables with billions of dollars.

Immigration and soaring power prices are huge issues for many voters. Yet what on earth is the Turnbull Government saying about either?

As I noted in my speech last night, the Government has wasted months yabbering about the National Energy Guarantee it’s trying to create with the states. Yet can anyone show that this NEG is a direct, swift and effective way to drive down power prices? Does anyone even understand it?

Indeed, the fact that Government’s NEG is hysterically defended today by Fairfax’s Peter Hartcher, demanded on-air yesterday by the ABC’s Rafael Epstein and promoted by the Financial Review’s Phil Coorey as something Labor could accept and build on shows just how this Liberal Government is working on a Labor agenda. This is not about cutting prices but cutting emissions.

Here’s Kevin Andrews again:

The ancient adage, ‘where there is no vision, a nation perishes’, remains as valid today as it was when first penned. Australians want a clear vision from their leadership about the future.

The task of nation building is ongoing. Many of the great policy challenges of the past few decades remain unfinished, whether it is national security, industrial relations reform, providing for an ageing population, or building strong communities and resilient families.

It is our duty to discuss these issues with clarity and foresight, taking the Australian people into our confidence. Unless we do so, the challenges will compound, our national wellbeing will be endangered, and confidence in us will diminish.

This means reducing our soaring debt, making housing more affordable for our young people, reinforcing our family and cultural values, including what our children are taught at school, and supporting the businesses that create jobs by reducing regulation and unnecessary costs.

Kevin finished his speech with some unscripted remarks that were heartfelt and affecting. He has since written down something close to what he said:

Many of you will have seen the recent film, Darkest Hour. It is one of a number of recent films that portray the role of Winston Churchill in the Second World War. I wish to conclude my remarks by reference to it, as it relates to Andrew Bolt’s contributions.

Churchill is now regarded as possibly the most significant Briton of all time, but that wasn’t always the case.

It is easy to forget that he was widely distrusted, especially by his own party, accused of having overseen major military defeats in the first World War, especially Gallipoli, regarded as a drunk, and suffering from mental instability.

Yet, it was Churchill that rejected the appeasement proclaimed by Chamberlain, called on the courage of the British people to withstand the bombardment of their cities, and provided the moral leadership that ultimately won the war against totalitarianism.

None of us are Churchill’s, but our task is to stand firm, to proclaim our beliefs, and to show the Australian people that there is a future based on responsibility, diligence, and commitment to do what is right.

I don’t think Andrews or, indeed, Tony Abbott, are going away soon. They see great issues confronting us which their own government will not address.

If this government had some hope of at least winning, these men would staying silent. But when the government looks bound to lose, Andrews and Abbott feel not only free but compelled to suggest a better way for our nation.

Andrew Bolt writes for the Herald Sun, Daily Telegraph, and The Advertiser and runs Australia’s most-read political blog. On week nights he hosts The Bolt Report on Sky News at 7pm and his Macquarie Radio show at 8pm with Steve Price.

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