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Turnbull Appearance on Q&A Again Launches the Twitter Derp

There’s just something about Malcolm Turnbull going on Q&A, pretty much anything publicly other than talking on broadband and communications that results in the unleashing of unmitigated derp from both sides of the political spectrum. Combine this with a predictable recipe of asylum seekers and marriage equality, with a bit of a healthy and thoughtful discussion on the arts and at least some of the chaos and stupidity was held back.

You see, the situation is quite strange when it comes to Malcolm Turnbull being a part of the public debate on a broader range of issues than his present shadow portfolio.

Pretty much everyone on the moderate left at times profess some kind of what they say and act like is undying love for Mr Turnbull when he isn’t so much in the spotlight, or more rightly when he might well be saying something that they tend to agree with, like on climate change, after last night somewhat on the arts and also to a large extent on marriage equality.

There are even people on the left who shout “Malcolm for PM” but would surely recoil from that belief were there a Liberal Party government in power, even with Turnbull at its head.

And so it goes that there was all of that fake, ‘soft’ love from the left for Malc0lm Turnbull that would surely diminish again among this demographic were he to return as leader.

Some too may profess a love for Malcolm Turnbull now but forget they used to decry his substantial wealth, self-made no less, undoubtedly much of it to do with people in this country seeming to despise entrepreneurialism and success and yes that tall poppy bashing syndrome definitely rings true.

There are those however, somewhere around the centre that would and do accept Malcolm Turnbull as a sensible and at least relatively balanced choice for leader of a Liberal Party that more and more lacks the ideology in its name. Turnbull is one of the few you’d consider to be a liberal in the modern Liberal Party or at the very least, someone with strong liberal tendencies.

Then you get started on what the right of the party, though more often the more right wing supporters of the Liberal Party think of the man and that’s where things start to get just a little misguided.

Those on the right of him decry him for sticking up for markets, for advocating that for the most part, the market is by far the best response to a range of things, notably climate change, though the electoral reality with this is that the idea of a market response has lost after having prevailed just years ago.

Then comes the socially progressive stance of the former Liberal Party leader, particularly on marriage equality, which closely behind his climate change stance attracts the most ire from Liberal Party supporters. He wants a conscience vote on the matter, said so some time ago, a conscience vote being a long-term stance of the party on controversial matters.

Mr Turnbull also over the weekend backed calls for a compromise of a nationally backed civil unions scheme which will be seen by many on the right of the party again as too far even though it is just a compromise position, though some on both the left and right will not see it that way.

The Twitter response last night mirrored the public thoughts on Turnbull with some soft backing and the next minute complete disavowal of all Turnbull believes in from the left and the occasional outright condemnation, simply because he’s a member of the “evil” Liberal Party.

Of course then, at the same time from the right was the complete disavowal of all he’s ever said even though the vast majority, if not all, is fully aligned with what the Liberal Party is supposed to stand for.

The reality of the situation is that Malcolm Turnbull on social issues lies somewhere around the political centre without being radically progressive but still being open to social progress that can’t be delivered by markets.

On economic issues Turnbull is clearly of the right so that clearly makes Turnbull centre-right overall which should at least in reality give comfort to the knocker’s on his own side of the spectrum but it does not.

Stay tuned for much of the same before, during and after the next installment of Q&A featuring Malcolm Turnbull, complete with predictable leadership comments masquerading as questions and the “you have him, no you take him” fight between right and left which is sure to spawn more of the most lovely derpiest derp.

My Kind of Liberalism/Liberal Conservatism is Mixed with a Bit of Big Government

I would like to take the chance today to outline in a broad sense the kind of liberalism/liberal conservatism that I identify with personally and how that translates into my thoughts in different policy areas, be they economic or social.I fully expect to lose a number of followers in the hours after this post gets out as people discover that I am not quite as conservative as I thought I once was.

On economic policy I would consider myself to be strongly of the economic conservative faith, believing that, for the most part, government spending should be kept to a minimum. I also believe in trying to avoid deficit spending, a key facet of fiscal conservatism as well as lower taxes and deregulation of the economy.

In saying this, I do not believe that all government spending is evil and should be avoided, there are some areas where government should be spending, particularly in the area of providing public goods making me also by definition a fan of the theory of economic liberalism.

Although both of these theories argue for limited government intervention in economic decision making and regulation, I do believe it is a political reality that there is and needs to be some level of limited regulation in the economy that provides some kind of protection to the individual. In saying this I, do not believe that regulation needs to be drastically added to, on the contrary, I think in many areas that regulations can and should be eased.

On social issues I consider myself to be a bit of a mixed bag again, combining some social conservatism with social liberalism, though I think that the latter is the predominate issue in my thoughts on social policy.

I firmly believe as social conservatives do, that the family is one of the most important institutions that exist in society along with the courts and other bodies that have long been a foundation of western society and our beliefs.

Where I differ with social conservatives  and where my social liberalism comes in is a firm belief in basic human rights, including freedom of speech, that have for a long time been an important and essential consideration in policy and political discussion.

While I believe that the family is an essential institution, I do not believe, like many social conservatives seem to, that the family is under threat from gay marriage. It is a ridiculous claim in my view, to assert that the family would be impacted in a detrimental way if same sex marriage were to become law in Australia. The family will continue to exist after this inevitable change is made and in any case is more under threat from the incredibly high levels of divorce in many western nations.

There are also areas of social policy where I would also consider myself at times to be a fan of a big government approach. The biggest of those would be disability policy.

I am a firm supporter of the Gillard Government policy of a National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) providing that it allows individuals to exercise their own free choice of which particular service or services they need to or choose to access which is best suited to their own individual needs and is not overly influenced by any healthcare practitioner or government regulation.

I also believe that the government needs to step in to strictly regulate areas which impede equality of access for people with a disability that destroy the ability of those of us with a physical or intellectual impairment from participating fully in the day to day activities that any “able bod” is fully able to enjoy at any given time.

For me this means strict accessibility provisions imposed upon both government and private institutions to, wherever possible provide all reasonable access for people of different physical abilities in everyday life. This means widespread accessible transport, buildings and housing.

I therefore think, as I have stated before, that principles of ‘universal design’ ought to be mandated by government, to provide the 1 in 5 Australian’s with a disability and the rapidly ageing population ready access to new dwellings built to these strict construction guidelines.

Furthermore, guidelines for accessibility to buildings need to be much stricter than they are at present and both local and state governments need to stoke up the courage to deal with this important area.

On transport, I believe that all transport  provided by local or state government should be accessible for people whether they are in a wheelchair, on crutches or have a slight physical impairment. No particular group in the community should have to organise for a particular form of transport to be made available to them because they happen to have been born with a condition impacting their ability to move around freely.

On transport infrastructure, where possible, I believe that all possible efforts should be made to transform all possible facilities related to public transport into disability friendly ones. I concede that there is a possibility that, because of the surrounds of some particular transport infrastructure, that because of topography, accessibility may be an almost complete hindrance to accessibility.

Also on social policy, I believe in some form of freedom of movement and therefore am against the fear that conservatives seem to have toward asylum seekers. This by no means indicates that I think people movements should be completely unfettered, they should not. We do need as a nation to discourage, wherever possible the unsafe journeys that people fleeing persecution continue to make.

So let the accusations of me being a “leftie” begin to fly as they inevitably will after this becomes public knowledge, I’m prepared for it. But the simple fact is that I am in wide, almost complete agreement and most of my thoughts completely consistent with the principles which underpin liberal philosophy and that of the Liberal Party which also embraces conservative political ideas. So bring it on.

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