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Federal Government

LIB LOG JAM: Club Fed conservatives positioning for power after September

liberaltreasureBarely a week goes by without The Australian newspaper running an article by either Nikki Savva, Peter Van Onselen or Janet Albrechtsen calling for Tony Abbott to remove the ‘deadwood’ from his frontbench and to replace them with the ‘young up and comers.’

It was Savva’s turn this week, naming the usual targets and for good measure throwing in a malicious lie about Kevin Andrews not taking PMO advice during the Haneef case.

Van Onselen, Savva and Albrechtsen are all in sync as to who the dead wood is. At the top of their list are Kevin Andrews, David Johnston and Bob Baldwin. And sometimes Peter Dutton. Unsurprisingly they are also in sync as to who the up and comers are, namely Paul Fletcher, Kelly O’Dwyer, Josh Frydenberg, Arthur Sinodinos, Jamie Briggs and Alan Tudge.

A few weeks ago Albrechtsen ran a nauseating piece titled ‘Five Liberal golden boys who should go to the top of the class’. Albrechtsen nominated Fletcher, Briggs, Tudge, Arthur Sinodinos and Frydenberg. Kelly O’Dwyer received a special mention. This is the same Albrechtsen who wrote a piece last year referring to ‘Senator’ Bob Katter.

It’s not hard to figure out what journalists and commentators the likes of O’Dwyer, Tudge and Frydenberg speak to. It’s even less hard to figure out those journalists and commentators that Johnston and Andrews don’t speak to.

What is harder to figure out is how these up and comers think they are somehow entitled to a spot on the front bench, because their performance and political acumen would indicate otherwise.

Take O’Dwyer for instance, word is that she’s alienated a large chunk of the branch members in Higgins, including the Young Libs. As a small ‘l’ liberal O’Dwyer recently came out (pardon the pun) in support of gay marriage. Why she felt this necessary just five months out from an election and when the gay marriage issue is well and truly on the political back burner demonstrates either a breathtaking lack of political nous and/or a deliberate act of treachery to damage Abbott.

There is also the issue of Higgins’ pot of gold. For months now, senior Liberals in Victoria have been trying to convince O’Dwyer to meaningfully spend on marginal seats in Victoria out of the Higgins trust. Given that even Labor-held Bendigo (with a margin of more than 9 per cent) is on the hit list, 2013 Federal election might be the only chance to make inroads into a division where it has continued to struggle since 1999. O’Dwyer et al should yield to the pressure.

Then there’s Arthur Sinodinos, the political and policy genius (so says Albrechtsen, Bolt et al.). This would be the same Arthur who in his first opinion piece for The Australian newspaper wrote that it would be smart politics for the Coalition to just pass Labor’s Emissions Trading Scheme as it was then called. The same Arthur, who forgot to declare directorships on his pecuniary interest register and allowed himself to be associated with the Obeid family through his involvement in Australian Water.

Sure, Arthur might be the smartest guy in the party room, but his judgment is far from flawless.

Neither Frydenberg nor Tudge, who both breezed around government in the Howard years as obsequious senior advisers to the likes of Howard and Downer should presume that others share the high opinion that they have of themselves.

Frydenberg needs to tone down the WorkChoices style rhetoric on IR for a start and forget about writing long winded op eds in the Australian newspaper on Israel. Frydenberg should pull his head in and demonstrate he’s a team player before being promoted to bigger things.

And Tudge needs wind back his paternalistic view on welfare reform when a simple but firm job seeker compliance regime will suffice.

The golden boys and girl will continue to white-ant the likes of Johnston, Baldwin, Bronwyn Bishop and Andrews, who rather ironically is responsible for the Libs looking like they will only spend two terms in opposition as opposed to the three or four terms they were contemplating when Turnbull was leader. They will of course never thank Andrews for this, nor even acknowledge his role in resuscitating the Liberal brand.

What would be refreshing is to see a list of those deserving promotion that have been team players, have put in the hard yards and understand what life is like beyond the end of the tram tracks. Sadly it’s a short list, but those vying for contention would be the likes of Dan Tehan, Alex Hawke, Stuart Robert, Craig Kelly and Senators Dean Smith, Michaela Cash and Scott Ryan. (Senator Fiona Nash from the Nats is also a stand-out performer).

An embarrassment of riches indeed! All these true blue Liberals are of real character and conviction with what Mark Latham discovered after he left politics – ‘life experience’. They just don’t spend enough time brown-nosing the Pharisees and Scribes of the National Press Gallery.

And who cares what faction they are from, simply put more power to them.


Comments are disallowed for this post.

  1. Hope to see NONE of them get anything. Hope that voting public will see through the massive Murdoch/Rhinehart hype and realise how & why Aus is envy of world economies. Aussies need to wake up & seek facts beyond headlines. It’s simple: Vote for progressive Aus or elect regressive, classist and surplus focussed dullards. Banks deliver surpluses. Governments deliver services and then pay down debt. A News cycle in politics is long time, particularly in social media! Hope springs eternal.

    Posted by BiBi, Brisbane | April 6, 2013, 10:57
  2. Unfortunately this is what politics has become and the people who are mentioned first in this article will most likely be promoted in the new government. Style over substance. We have Rudd to thank for it.

    Posted by anon | April 6, 2013, 13:14
  3. Why do people always question my integrity?

    Posted by KOD | April 6, 2013, 14:33
  4. This article was going great guns. And then it mentioned Alex Hawke. Positively. Oh well nothing’s perfect.

    Posted by sorry state | April 6, 2013, 15:18
  5. So what is the real reason for Liberal Candidates for Bendigo and Isaacs being given the heave-ho in view of the polling for both seats placing the Liberal Party are likely winners in the Federal election ? Were the candidates tipped out because some prefer the seat lost rather than go to a factionally unacceptable likely to be elected MPs?

    Posted by Anon | April 6, 2013, 16:00
  6. Excellent article but headline is misleading. O’Dwyer, Frydenberg, Briggs et al are not conservatives. They are all without fail sopping wet small l libs. They are not worthy to represent the party of Menzies

    Posted by Dryasachip | April 6, 2013, 17:50
  7. You recommending Scott Ryan for promotion! Talk about a flip flop!!
    Now I’ve seen it all

    Posted by Anonymous | April 6, 2013, 18:14
  8. Thank god our forefathers had the wisdom and insight to create Canberra, Somewhere where we can send our Politicians. Out of sight and out of mind, only seen on Cable if you subscribe

    Posted by Sky news | April 6, 2013, 18:59
  9. I just hope the recently (re-confirmed) preselected Liberal Senate candidate for the ACT, Zed Seselja, gets the a guernsey as parl sec for the public service. His recent tactical cluster fuck on sad sack incumbent,Gary Humphries, shows he has the necessary skill set to create a serial media blunder whilst knee capping himself in the eyes of his electorate.

    Ooohhh, I can’t wait for the blood fest following a Liberal victory in September…that is within the Liberal Party, of course!

    Posted by Colonel Hogan | April 6, 2013, 19:13
  10. An article mentioning Nikki Savva and Janet Albrectsen together really does get me hot and excited!!

    Posted by The Cad | April 6, 2013, 19:17
  11. Hi, my name is …err, John. Janet A please call Pyongyang 666 at your convenience. Regards Kimchee Kid.

    Posted by Heat Seeking Missile | April 6, 2013, 19:22
  12. Anon April 6 16:00

    At least you got one of the seats right.

    It’s McEwan not Bendigo. And both candidates withdrew something the Prime Minister should have done a long time ago.

    Posted by Anonymous | April 6, 2013, 19:34
  13. I can hardly wait for political geniuses like Senator Abetz to return to the Ministry. His performance during the Oz Car scandal was outstanding. The Liberal Party is full of giants like this waiting to step onto the National stage.

    Posted by wothers | April 6, 2013, 20:56
  14. What about Wyatt Roy?

    Posted by iheartjinglee | April 6, 2013, 21:15
  15. What would make us all happy would be to also promote Malcolm to take the Prime Ministers chair in the Parliament after September.

    Posted by Bruce Rogers | April 6, 2013, 21:18
  16. Just like in Chisholm where the candidate wad selected because he is asian and doesn’t have the guts to stand up to O’Dwyer, Frydenburg, Ryan et al.

    Posted by Anna | April 6, 2013, 22:41
  17. But given current polling internally, eternally and grass roots he is a shoe in.

    Posted by Anna | April 6, 2013, 22:49
  18. So what is the real reason for Liberal Candidates for McEwan and Isaacs being given the heave-ho in view of the polling for both seats placing the Liberal Party are likely winners in the Federal election ? Were the candidates tipped out because some prefer the seat lost rather than go to a factionally unacceptable likely to be elected MPs?

    Posted by Anon | April 6, 2013, 16:00

    Posted by Anon- Correction | April 7, 2013, 0:52
  19. People like Kevin Andrews and Bronwyn Bishop whilst ‘old’ provide previous ministerial and cabinet experience which will be vital for a first term government. Peter Dutton however is completely irrelevant as he has done nothing to advance the Coalition policy in Health and should be dumped in favour of a victorious Mal Brough who will certainly slay the treacherous Peter Slipper in Fisher.

    The Coalition should be taking a long-term view to government with a plan to provide experience and stability at the start and then gradually transition to new ministers. Otherwise when they are voted out they could end up like the Labor party with no real ministerial experience except for Simon Crean.

    Posted by JEG | April 7, 2013, 10:31
  20. Barry O’Farrell and Tony Abbott hiding truth about motorway and rail upgrade options for western Sydney.

    Knocked back freeway offer at no cash cost to State because of racism.

    Mutiny growing in lower ranks I-NSW and Transport.

    O’Farrells dirt deal with Greiner precludes best options.

    Posted by Jacky Kelly | April 7, 2013, 10:54
  21. Alex Hawke? Spends all of his time in Machiavellian intrigues. Has made himself a pariah among his colleagues and most former friends. Only knows how to pursue one interest: his own. Sows discord among branch members who would otherwise be colleagues.

    Posted by Anon | April 7, 2013, 13:02
  22. Anon-Correction April 7, 2013 0:52
    In McEwan Petrovich will “monster” Mitchell. She has before to win upper house Vic seat and she will in McEwan. Speaking of factional puppets, that is what Mitchell is to Shorten, simply one vote. One leass vote he will have to be opposition leader post Sept 14th.

    Posted by Anonymous | April 7, 2013, 15:15
  23. So why did Ben (Tristan Westons campaign manager) Collier pull out as the candidate for McEwen in favour of Donna (my husband was Weston’s defence lawyer)Petrobitch

    Posted by Max | April 7, 2013, 15:20
  24. Anon – The Electorate of McEwen is spelt with an “e” not an “a”

    Posted by Adrian Jackson | April 7, 2013, 17:56
  25. Premier Barry O’Farrell ripped from office as Barrangeroo fails and cartel king Greiner does it again.

    O’Farrell a lumpen fool hitched up to Nick the Shtick and poor old James

    Posted by casino doubt | April 7, 2013, 18:44
  26. There is little doubt that there will be some winners and losers from Abbott PM.

    Amongst the MPs Frydenberg, Sophie M and Tudge will be big winners. Scotty Ryan should also do well. It’s not so clear about Mitch Fifield but Ronaldson & Helen Kroger will not do so well. Outside the MPs, there will also be some winners and losers as Abbott has not traditionally had much support amongst from Victorian liberals. The local business community has not generally warmed to Abbott but former party treasurer Glynn comes to mind as a potential winner as he is known as a long-time supporter of the mad monk from student politics days. But overall Victoria will not do well from an Abbott Government.

    Posted by Liberal insider | April 7, 2013, 21:33
  27. Anon needs to get his/her facts right. Petro and Mitchell have never gone head to head, and given her magnificent efort with 371 primary votes in 2010 she will be gone this time(she was even thumped by the Country Alliance)

    Posted by megs | April 8, 2013, 13:05
  28. weston/petrovich/collier- wheels within wheels, all besties and all out to get their snouts firmly in the taxpayers trough

    Posted by aprilfool | April 8, 2013, 13:11
  29. The fat proprietor of this blog and his fat wife are even more desperate to get their piggy snouts in the clubfed taxpayer trough. The rivers of gold from stealing union funds are more like a trickle these days.

    Posted by gimme the loot | April 8, 2013, 14:39
  30. Nice piece, Andrew, but you missed a couple of important things. You are correct that KOD has all of Cossie’s arrogance, but little of his talent. She thinks appearing on Q+A is the way to get ahead, but doesn’t do any policy work. Others are just discovering what we in Higgins already know.

    What is really dispicible is the attack on Andrew Robb as well, which your sources do not seem to have passed on to you.

    For someone who was already on the nose in Abbott’s office, the constant attempts to undermine her seniors has not gone down well.

    Posted by John | April 8, 2013, 16:47
  31. Tony Abbott will keep Kevin Andrews in a senior portfolio and have him in the Cabinet.

    It will be very interesting to see the Ministerial reshuffle after the election which I anticipate will be quite a bit closer than current polls suggest.

    The demands from business for structural micro-economic reform, elimination of red tape and increased infrastructure expenditure are not able to be reconciled with the level of personal tax cuts needed to keep the best and brightest graduates in Australia instead of them moving in this Asian century to major Asian centres as ex-pats with no need to pay back their HECS (HELP or whatever it is now called) while they remain overseas.

    Posted by Giuseppe De Simone | April 8, 2013, 19:24
  32. I was always going to be the candidate for McEwen, but held off because Matty Guy promised me a ministry. When all this so shamefully fell through, I fucked Collier off and installed myself. I hope that settles the matter lovies.

    Posted by THE REAL DIRTY DONNA (PETROBITCH) | April 8, 2013, 21:32
  33. Too many Vics on the list and considering the shape of the Victorian Liberal Party, I don’t think Abbott will promote many of them.
    What about Ciobo and Vasta from Queensland? Also the new MPs that will likely get elected Laundy (probably the 2nd wealthiest politician behind Turnbull), Coleman and Diaz
    What about JA in sport?
    I think Abbott will look beyond the current crop, he’ll have more loyal leuitenants come September, who owe their spot in parliament to him, he would be foolish not to solidify this allegiance

    Posted by The Member for Mushi Mushi | April 9, 2013, 11:40
  34. Abbott just made a racist slur at Lib Party dinner. Will the media pick it up?

    Posted by Bruce liberal | April 10, 2013, 20:35
  35. Why is Andrew Robb always questioning my integrity?

    Why is Kevin Andrews always questioning my integrity?

    Why is Josh Frydenberg always questioning my integrity?

    Why is Helen Kroger always questioning my integrity?

    Why is everyone that I smear behind their backs always questioning my integrity?

    Posted by KOD | April 10, 2013, 20:57
  36. I think that all these people will go well in my government

    Posted by Lyenko's love child | April 11, 2013, 13:13
  37. Bendigo should be eminently winnable by the Coalition considering how effective Gibbons has been in representing us!

    Posted by David M | April 11, 2013, 13:19
  38. There are three things a federal politician needs to do to be effective. One, representing their local electorate (especially for MPs). This is not particularly glamorous, but as a politician if you don’t possess a love for or deep connection with the place you’re elected to represent, then what are you? ‘Gareth Evans’ is probably the best answer I can think of. Being a Member of Parliament is not about swanning off overseas to G20/UN/ASEAN et al meetings, about slagging off each other on SkyNews or as noted above writing opeds for the Oz – it’s about being there for the people who elected you. So at 6pm when you’re about to scoot home from your office for 30 precious minutes with your family before heading out for another evening of community events; and a local grandfather who’s the primary carer for two little girls his daughter has abandoned with him comes knocking on your door for a bit of help with Centrelink, and maybe a quick chat – that’s when you learn that whatever fancy ideas you have of yourself and your ‘role’ in politics – when it gets down to it, it’s about serving the people.

    Two, it’s about securing your electorate its fair share of the national pie; again as unglamorous as that may seem, that’s why you were elected.

    Three, if you are ever called to Cabinet then it’s about being an effective and hardworking Minister, and being prepared to demonstrate the leadership and decisiveness that will require; and in a manner commensurate with the nation’s values. Something largely absent since 25 Nov 2007.

    The question is do those above fit the bill? I suspect the older, more experienced Members will. The others will need to earn it. (and for the record I would rather go to jail than vote Labor or Greens.)

    Posted by James Barlow, NT | April 12, 2013, 16:14
  39. tudge is a decent bloke; we could do worse, kelly o dwyer, peter dutton to name a few

    Posted by get a grip | April 16, 2013, 22:49
  40. We should have followed Britain re the media reforms Mr Abbott appears incapable to debate with the Prime Minister Ms Gillard re his alternate policies. Liberals worst kept secret Mr Abbott great at the acting but poor on debating.

    Posted by maggie atlas | April 22, 2013, 3:22