The great political party, The Liberals, formed by Robert Menzies seven decades ago, is in its death throes. It has been assassinated by right wing zealots, none of whom would have ever been welcomed into its ranks by Australia’s longest serving Prime Minister.
I was at High School when Menzies commenced his political comeback by uniting a collection of conservative parties to form The Liberals. In doing so, he declared that he was commanding the centre ground of politics in Australia, planning to push Labor to the Left and the Country Party (now The Nationals) over on to the Right. It made common sense as most Australians wanted a government without ideology that made pragmatic decisions to secure Australia’s post war prosperity.
Menzies achieved his aim for 16 years, retiring at his own timing and on his own terms. Then, the rot set in as the Liberals moved steadily to the right, finally going heavily in that direction when Tony Abbott arrived and inflicted 19th century economics and morals on the nation, sending it into decline on many fronts.
Now, Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, a Menzies Liberal, is totally dominated by the radical right of a Party whose politics would make Menzies turn in his grave. Indeed, if the great man was still around, he would move to New Zealand where John Key governs in his tradition with great success.
In many ways, today’s Liberals reflect the state of world politics where good government has been in decline since the arrival of George W Bush heralded the birth of political stupidity.
Bush was a poorly educated man with an obsession for fundamentalist Christianity that consumed his life. He was in no doubt that God had very deliberately called him to be President of the United States and that 9/11 was a specific sign from God that he should curb the power of Islam forever by finishing the job that the Crusaders had stuffed up.
Thus, he led the United States (and Australia, Britain and Spain) into wars in Afghanistan and Iraq that gave birth the cult of ISIS. His understanding of world affairs was minimal and racist while his abysmal view of finance and economics led the world into the Great Financial Crisis of 2008 and the ever widening gap between rich and poor.
He opened the door for the Tea Party to dominate American politics. A combination of it all is that lower income Americans have been driven to embrace Donald Trump as their saviour.
This has led to creating conditions in Australia whereby Pauline Hanson has made an incredible political comeback after two decades in the wilderness, riding through a right wing doorway that Tony Abbott held wide open.
What would Menzies do to fix all this if he was still around?
Without the slightest shadow of a doubt he would form a party that had as its basis a union of the right wing of the ALP with the left wing of the Liberals. Then, he would add to it an educated group of Young Turks (more females than males) with open minds and no ideology who signed up as nation builders, financially and socially.
Significantly, he would choose to operate without the Nationals who would share the Right with Hanson. Over on the other extreme, the left wing of the ALP could debate whether or not to join with the Greens. Hopefully, Independents would eventually outnumber all of them.
Let me now emphasise clearly that extremism is not confined to the political Right. It thrives just as vividly over on the Left as shown by the election of Jeremy Corbyn to lead the British Labour Party. He is as close to a total nutter as I have seen. It was his supporters who formed the backbone of the vote to leave Europe. They and the low income retirees just wanted to tell David Cameron and the Tories, and their fallacy of ‘trickle down economics’, to go to hell.
So, we come to the crucial question. Is there a leader of the stature of Menzies who can now rise up and form a powerful party of pragmatist visionaries in the political centre? I can’t see one at present as the brighter ones in the Liberals and ALP seem to be locked into those parties and new blood does not come forward from outside because they don’t want to be snared into a dead end of political ideology.
So what do ordinary Aussies like you and I do? Shoot ourselves or go to live on a tropical island. I intend to lodge protest votes with Independents until the main stream parties have the common sense and the will to reform because they will have no other option.
I voted for Menzies in every election that he contested. Then, when he departed, I moved to Gough Whitlam, as brilliant a visionary as I have seen in my lifetime, but without the ability to implement those visions. Eventually, I strongly backed John Howard as he appeared to be a Menzies man, but I departed sadly when he teamed up with George Bush and also masterminded the Tampa affair that sent refugees to a terrible fate.
One day, the right leader will turn up unexpectedly in Australia in a similar way as Lincoln did in USA when he came out of the backblocks to reach the White House.
Without hope, life is nothing.
Yours at Large
If you would like to buy my book ‘The Man on the Twenty Dollar Notes’, the life story of Australia’s greatest nation builder, John Flynn, please go to my website everaldcompton.com where you will find an order form.
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11 thoughts on “Goodbye Menzies”
Hi Everald. Well done at the NPC and you look so fit and healthy as well. ! Heading off to Latin America tomorrow leading a Captains Chouce tour. All good. Cheers Tim Fischer
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I can’t understand why this mob is so incompetent. What a country, there is nobody in the big Partys who is any good. I’m presently wishing Barnaby and Pauline would take over. What we need is a Turnbull with a bit of Trump spunk.
Everald just letting you know. My property has been sold and I’m heading to Hervey Bay. I might get that fishing i after all. This email address ceases as of 16 September 2016. I’d like to keep in touch and will let you know the new address when I have it. Kind regards Rod foster
Greetings Everald and ALL capable of Reasoned THOUGHT ! We must not just wring our hands as we ARE in dire need of Conscious and EXCELLENT LEADERSHIP NOW. SO sad MT a dud.Only thoughtful words I heard in Election time were John Hewson BUT not a dominant lad! What does an Influential Lachlan Murdoch married to an Australian hence Kids to guide VOTE for? Just looking outside …. WHO is there WE COULD Nominate? Still believe we need to CLONE YOU dear Everald!!a
Everald and Others
There IS another way! Creating yet another political party is NOT the way to go. It is the political party obsession that has got us into this mess.
We need to return to a governance system in which our representatives promote the views of their constituents – not the views generated in the back rooms of political parties.
How to achieve that?
The only way I can see, is to adopt a whole new Constitution.
A draft is already available. It only needs to be reviewed and amended as necessary before it could be adopted.
Copies are available from Cobbscrossing Publications, 382 Villeneuve Rd, Royston, Qld, 4514.
Only $10 plus P&P – $12 all up. firstname.lastname@example.org and or 0421 126 395.
It started in 1946 with the Club of Rome dreaming up the United Nations Organisation, founded for the purpose of bringing into being a Government of the World. Gough Whitlam, and media empires the stole the minds of men away from Christ so that they no longer percieved the trap they were being led into. Many Brutus’ have come since then and sold the nation up the river. But God has reserved for Himself a remnant that will restrain until He takes it out of the way. Not too long to go now.
Everald, you miss one very important point and that is that Menzies did not have to contend with the 24 hour news cycle. I’m not sure that he would been so successful if he had to.
I believe that the media has a lot to answer for when it comes to delivering good policy, because as soon as a new initiative is released and media is out there looking for potential losers and once found they get the inevitable run on the news. Hence we have policy paralysis.
Also back then, welfare was for the needy only with none of the middle class welfare that exists today. Further, the same level of work ethic does not exist today as it did in his era.
I also believe that we DO have a potential leader to inspire and that is Christian Porter (ex Treasurer in WA) He may be quietly spoken but he is highly intelligent, articulates policy well, knows his brief backwards and I don’t believe carries any political ideology.
Everald, you are an absolute gem !
A huge thank you, again, for your wisdom and courage.
The ancient Roman Senate, I recall, was composed of independents.
These days we seem to have to accept the grace-less machinations of block-voting idealogues who, like Malcom, on Annabelle’s programme, seemed to have a visceral dislike of the ALP, for example.
Finally, do we have to accept the inevitability of another revolution, as Santanaya would claim, because we choose not to learn from the lessons of history—for the ‘barbarians’/desperate, seem to be baying at the gates !
Kind regards to fellow members of the ‘chattering classes’,
Spot on Everald. Yes another whole new party needs to rise. So many I speak with all voted Independents like myself. Our once proud country is going backwards. What we need is a Financial Services Expert not those just keeping their jobs by supporting politicians to get elected again (vested). I’d like to see sales of our lands/housing stopped. We could really get stuck in to build Agriculture as many rich nations would pay top prices for our clean green food and of course with all the troubled spots in the world , tourism (our beaches in particular).
What a great article, Everald. Too bad you are probably not in the position yourself to form such a party that a current Menzies would. You will understand my despair at the current state of things when I tell you my Federal member is now George Christiansen. Makes me want to move back to Brisbane!
As always Everald â like your interesting points some of which I agree with. But itâs not easy to relate Menzies to our times. A fine leader he undoubtedly was but in todayâs social media and headline, 24/7 context political leadership is far more complex. A primary ingredient after the right ideas for the nation has to be a gifted ability to âsellâ and capture the support of the majority. I cannot think of one person in Australia today â or for that matter in other democracies âwith that vision and gift. Perhaps Therese May may eventually prove a quieter model of such â I like her style to-date; but where are the others? In Australia â there is no one in Labor – a party that would not survive without the Union movement which doesnât represent the people. I can see no one on the Liberal/national front and I would certainly never place Malcolm alongside Menzies. The latter had vision, courage and understood the people and the times. Turnbull has always been an egotist â in things for himself â and walked away from issues he couldnât win eg Republicanism, HIH, and similar. He could no more inspire the current electorate than could Corbyn. I have et him a few times! In many respects I think our only way out is the formation of a new movement of the centre but economically of an ilk that favours small government, free speech, an enterprise approach to opening up Australiaâs strengths and promise eg innovation, research, higher-skills technology, etc, and an understanding that all Australians wherever they live deserve a fair go. Such a movement would also understand that for the now there are far more critical priorities for Australia than tinkering with the Constitution to insert aboriginals, than same-sex marriage and all such in-between gophers that can never contribute a skerrick to taking Australia out of its current morass and decline. Such a new movement also needs to restore a pride in Australians! Right now Iâd rather be a Kiwi â with their get on and do it attitude and quiet self respect and nationalism! May be that West island joke of theirs had something!! We have become a lazy country!
Some years ago â I thought strongly about a new movement or party and developed a detailed manifesto. I also sought interest to lead from one or two (both now deceased). More recently I thought of another possible. Anyway I would seriously adapt my manifesto for the modern situation and were I younger Iâd have a go â just to try and lift the debate, the conduct, the vision and the long-term strategies. Itâs not rocket science! The directions are obvious; the words are difficult; and changing the electorateâs mindset to âget up and goâ and not âwhatâs in it for meâ will be increasingly monumental.
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You have absolutely nailed this era, Everald. I am as angry and frustrated as you. Too many self serving politicians and ideologues. I share your hope that a leader with sufficient intelligence, vision and courage will emerge, and soon, very soon. Chris Mac @ChrisMac1270
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