Is the Liberal Party coming apart? Does it have a future? It would seem, in the last three days, to be disintegrating, fast.
A new Premier is forced to moot new rules that forbid it to raise money in the developer-kickback way it always has. Abbott is proposing to tax the rich, but his caucus won’t have a bar of it. Marshall has failed to win the unloseable in South Australia, and Napthine in Victoria, already ten percent behind, seems as corrupt as Hartcher, Obeid and Sinoodinos. Palmer has thieved three of Newman’s members and three of Giles’s, and Hodgman, lately triumphant, is already behind in the polls.
All this would matter less if the Liberals’ core values were something more than advantage to their donors and plush jobs when they retire. But we do not see that kind of Liberal — Fraser, Peacock, Hewson, Chaney, Puplick, Hamer, Killen, Collins, Brogden, Georgiou, Troeth, the elder Baird — any more. What we have is the Looters’ Party, individually scrambling in a pile of gold bars with their feet on one another’s noses. It is closing time in the burnt-out casino, and the chip supply has dwindled.
A good deal of it is Abbott’s fault. A twister and a shirker, a slippery fellow addicted to fibs, erasures and rewrites, he cannot hold a belief in his head for a day without dropping it as he scrambles over the fence with the Dogs of Truth pursuing him.
And his followers are frantic. They were not told what he was to say last night until he’d mooted it in the papers, any more than he told them he was knighting Howard, and Howard wriggled out of the honour like the cat resisting Pepe Le Pew.
This is a functional madman, a loaded dog, and they don’t know how to contain him.
In the next few days he will be spoken to severely, and he will not listen.
And we will see what we shall see.