If Yoda from Star Wars was asked about the Liberal Party, he might say, “The hypocrisy is strong in this one.”
Seriously, I would actually feel sorry for Christopher Pyne- if I’d seen any evidence that he or his Coalition colleagues could feel human emotions.
But this week’s drama is hard to comprehend. Pyne dared to admit (in private) that the LGBTI community should actually be entitled to the same rights as heterosexual couples and a few days later there is pressure on Turnbull (and we know how resolutely our PM stands up to backbench pressure) to remove Pyne from the frontbench. It reminded me of several months ago when Josh Frydenberg had the effrontery to suggest the government might consider actually letting energy policy be informed by science and implement the ETS that had been recommended. He was quickly put back in his place, suitably chastised for making statements not in agreement with Coalition policy, just as Pyne appears to have been.
In the same week, the always campaigning Tony Abbott produced his alternative conservative manifesto, in clear divergence from a number of Coalition policies (which is rather cleverly summarised in Ross Leigh's article). In full denial of the global reality of climate change, our worst ever Prime Minister’s latest pitch to regain his job involved abandoning our emissions target and building a new coal energy generator (hardly a surprise, I know) and institutionalising racism through changes in our immigration policies.
While the response to Pyne was as robust and belligerent as it was hyperbolic, the response to Abbott has been basically “Nothing to see here.” As Barnaby Joyce said, an ex-PM seems to have the right to give his opinions on a wide range of subjects, even if it undermines their current leader’s position (I wonder if he made similar statements about Kevin Rudd).
One has to ask, what was it about Pyne's statement that was so much worse that Abbott's? Obviously bypassing the plebiscite is breaking an election promise, but that didn’t seem to bother Coalition MPs in relation to pledged spending in education and health, reducing energy costs or meeting our Paris Climate Accord commitments.
But while my sympathy for Pyne is on hold, so too is my schadenfreude. Maybe he is reaping what he has sewn by joining a party that champions unbridled greed and dishonesty, but his misfortune is a reflection of our own. It is hard to take any pleasure out of the incompetence of those elected to govern our country because they represent us.
How has it come to be that we are governed by people who think showing a hint of decency is a hanging offense, but further trashing our environment and international reputation is an almost reasonable- and certainly unremarkable- suggestion?
We need a new government. This one is faulty... Very faulty.