Contradictions

The breakdown of the market liberal right, and the accompanying rise of tribalist politics, is producing some interesting contradictions, most of which are embodied in the Institute of Public Affairs. David Leyonjhelm, a longterm IPA member has staged a provocation by inviting racist troll Milo Yiannopoulos to Australia under the banner of free speech. The Senate condemned him for providing a platform to someone who “incites abuse and harassment of women, jews, and members of the LBGTIQ and multicultural communities”. When the words of the motion were quoted back at him, Leyonjhelm threatened legal action, and stated his general willingness to use defamation law against his political opponents.

Meanwhile, at the same time as backing an IPA campaign to remove charity status from environmental groups that engage in political advocacy, Malcolm Turnbull is supporting amendments to the equal marriage bill, pushed by IPA alumnnus James Paterson to preserve the charitable status of groups that oppose the law.

What’s happening here, I think, is that a group that has always assumed itself to be part of the silent majority of “real Australians” is being faced with evidence that it is actually a shrinking minority, regarded by the majority as a set of noisy and unpleasant bigots. One reaction is to double down on aggressive assertion of its views, treating things like the outcome of the marriage survey as a temporary aberration. The other is to seek the protections traditionally accorded to minorities, appealing to the rhetoric of tolerance and diversity.

This contradiction can’t be sustained for long, although that won’t stop them trying. But how should the decent majority deal with this problem. The answer is to remember that everyone will be in the minority some time. We should reject the attempt to stop charitable groups from engaging in advocacy, even if we don’t always like what is being advocated. As regards free speech, we should resist the temptation to use legal bludgeons, but make it clear to the promoters of racism, and those willing to line up with them, that they will be called out for what they are. This has already happened to the LNP in Queensland and WA following disgraceful alliances with One Nation. One of the few encouraging signs from the right was Turnbull’s recent declaration (motivated by fear rather than principle) that the Federal LNP would do no preference deals with Hanson.

31 thoughts on “Contradictions

  1. “Turnbull’s recent declaration … Federal LNP would do no preference deals with Hanson.”

    In Qld Labor made a it big deal about preferences and coalition with PHON, but Nicholls LNP made it about coalition only. Federally there’s no such chance of any coalition with PHON needing consideration.

    Sweeney stepped in from Qld state executive to change LNP local branch preferences from ALP last to Greens last. This alone likely saved ALP’s No2 Trad. They swapped preferences with PHON in some places, in others they couldn’t, in others they directed preferences to PHON without a swap. Sweeney didn’t step in everywhere. If Turnbull’s LNP federal machine does similar his declaration would amount to more waffle presently and opportunity for much more such innovative waffling in future.

  2. “One of the few encouraging signs … was Turnbull’s recent declaration (motivated by fear rather than principle) that the Federal LNP would do no preference deals with Hanson.”

    I wouldn’t take any encouragement from this. The only statement that matters from Mr Turnbull or the Libs on this topic would be for them to say that they are putting One Nation last on their how to vote cards.

    The Qld LNP technically didn’t do a deal with One Nation in the recent Qld state election either, but they still chose to put One Nation above the ALP and Greens. This has led directly to One Nation winning a seat in the Qld Parliament – something that would not have happened had the LNP not chose to give their support to One Nation.

    This shows the Libs are prepared to support and legitimise One Nation, even in the absence of any preference deal. Until Mr Turnbull explicitly rules this out, we can only assume they will do the same at the next federal election, particularly in Qld seats.

  3. “This has already happened to the LNP in Queensland and WA following disgraceful alliances with One Nation.” – JQ

    How so? One from opposition close to holding their own and that with similar policies to those they went into opposition with and with PHON preferencing sitting LNP members last. The other a tired government of a big bust after a mismanaged huge boom and past its used by date clearly seen desperately horse trading with PHON.

  4. bjb :“We should reject the attempt to stop charitable groups from engaging in advocacy, even if we don’t always like what is being advocated.”
    It irritates me intensely whenever GetUp is mentioned in the media… We never hear the IPA introduced as “the right wing activist group, the IPA”.

    This afternoon the IPA have their man, Gary Johns, in place to head the ACNC and do the 5 yearly review that’s due, with review of the ACT itself due soon…

    ****—***-theguardian.com/australia-news/2017/dec/07/charities-criticise-bizarre-appointment-of-anti-charities-campaigner-as-head-of-regulator

    GetUp’s revenue amounts and sources aren’t top secrets. The IPA’s are. The religious institutions have huge revenue secrets. Perhaps at least half of all political parties’ revenues are also top secret. All should be publicly audited at least to the extent that GetUp currently is, but the aim should be complete transparency of all, including individuals and corporates.

  5. @I am and will always be Not Trampis

    That’s not better – you’re still exempting the current government. My point was that the idea of “had the effect of changing the government” couldn’t be legislated. It would need to be reworded as “actions intended to influence the outcome of an election” or something, because that would be possible to decide before the election and independent of the result.

    But ad homenim comments aren’t really my thing.

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