One word sums up Australian horror show

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We can only hope the Germans have a word for what is happening in the Liberal Partybecause there is nothing in English that seems to wholly capture it.

Cooked, cactus and chaotic are just three of the c-words for a start, although another one

occasionally springs to mind to describe what is happening in the Liberal Party.

But if the Prussians could be bothered turning their minds to antipodean politics, I think

they would come up with “schiessedumpf”.

In the King’s English this would translate to “shitvague” and given the Liberals’ current

standing it would be if anything a generous assessment.

Indeed, it would be a very economic summation of the thousands of words in the Liberals’

own federal election postmortem, which concluded the Liberal brand was no longer fit for


In light of the election results that followed in the two biggest states of Victoria and NSW

that withering condemnation is now an understatement. And the less said the better about

the WA Liberals, whose MPs can now be comfortably seated around a card table.

So are we witnessing the death throes of the Australian Liberal Party?

To answer that we have to look at what Labor is doing, because a key reason for the

Liberals’ flailing demise is that Labor has captured the sensible centre.

After a decade in the wilderness both nationally and in Labor’s spiritual heartland of NSW it

is telling that the ALP has regained government in both places with a renewed devotion to

suburban concerns and mainstream dreams.

The fact that online activist groups like GetUp are bitching and moaning about the Budget,

and likewise the clumsy and untethered claims from conservatives, is proof in itself that

Labor is back in business.

As John Howard once said, if you’re being criticised for something by both sides of politics

it’s a pretty clear sign you’ve got it right.

The conservatives’ hopelessly tangled response to the Budget is a case in point. Cost of

living is a full-blown crisis, they say, but they disapprove of relief measures for the poorest

households except of course they don’t disapprove of them but there’s nothing for middle-

Australia except the government shouldn’t be spending anything at all because it’s fuelling

inflation except there should be tax cuts. Have I got that right?

Leader of the Opposition Peter Dutton delivers his Budget reply in the House of Representatives at Parliament House in Canberra. Picture: NCA NewsWire / Martin OllmanLeader of the Opposition Peter Dutton delivers his Budget reply in the House of Representatives at Parliament House in Canberra. Picture: NCA NewsWire / Martin Ollman

But to Jim Chalmers’ great credit, the Treasurer also cheerfully kicked the lunar left square

in the nuts.

In the eco-religion of energy the first footy boot was the commitment to natural gas as a

vital energy source and the second was a $2 billion turbo charge to the hydrogen industry.

This is significant because Greens hate gas and don’t understand hydrogen. Any power that

doesn’t come from the sun or wind confuses them as much as a lightbulb would confuse an


And to top it all off the left’s lovely Tanya Plibersek just this week approved a new coal

mine, effectively telling GetUp to get f… riendlier.

It’s all superb and sensible stuff, as is the PM’s extra $10m for community Australia Day

celebrations combined with $250m to tackle crime and community chaos in Central

Australia — a perfect marriage of mainstream values and practical action. Bill Shorten’s

clear-eyed reforms of the NDIS are the same.

Meanwhile it is not just out west that the Libs are teetering on the verge of extinction.

Victoria is now essentially a one-party state, which — while Dan Andrews may want it that

way — is just as much the fault of the hapless opposition.

Having sent Matthew Guy to his death not once but twice — which seems unnecessarily

cruel — the Victorian Liberals’ new solution is another leader dedicated to their cult of self-

immolation. It’s like they’re being advised by Phillip Nitschke.

The current snafu is the expulsion of a childhood abuse-surviving MP who attended a pro-

woman rally that was gatecrashed by neo-Nazis and who is now threatening to sue her own


Literally nobody had this on their 2023 bingo card because in no sane world would an issue

like this be able to escalate to such an existential clusterf*ck.

Likewise the federal party’s inexplicable decision to go to war with not just the majority of

the electorate but all the Liberals’ own state branches over the Indigenous Voice to


The Liberals had the perfect get out of jail free card on this issue in the form of simply

announcing a conscience vote and yet Peter Dutton bizarrely chose the nuclear option —

and not the kind that produces power.

Little wonder moderate Liberals are schiessing themselves, which is why I was recently

asked to advocate a Yes vote in a debate with Tony Abbott. The fact that this was attacked

by the hashtag left at least proves that the Libs don’t have a monopoly on stupidity.

But the lesson for everyone else, the lesson that Labor has learned while the Libs are still

trying to find their way to the classroom, could not be clearer.

The party that seizes the sensible centre will be electorally unbeatable, while retreating to

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the supposed safety of ideological outposts is in fact the pathway to political death.

And you don’t need a German word for that.

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