With the
problems the federal Liberals are having with their country cousins, they might
look to the Western Australian Liberals for advice. The WA liberals have successfully
driven the National Party out of the Coalition onto the cross benches and ensured
that the only seats the Nationals contest at the next election are those held
by themselves and the Liberals.

In the
event the Labor Party wins more seats than the Liberal Party at the next
election, but insufficient to govern in their own right, and the National Party
declines to give the Governor assurances in respect to either Party, the
Governor will be obliged to invite the Labor Party to form a minority
government.

On the
other hand, if the National Party gives the liberal Party an assurance of supply,
the Liberal Party will be forced to govern as a minority government with the
balance of power held by a rump rural party of Barnaby Joyces. National
Party Leader, Brendon Grylls has announced that under no circumstances will his
party form a coalition with the Liberal Party. The
Liberals can take credit for this being all of their own making.

How, you
might sensibly ask, have matters arrived at this point? The answer is to be
found in the selfish, self indulgent behaviour of a small handful of senior Liberal
Party office bearers, in particular Mr Mathias Cormann, the Senior Vice
President of the Party.

Cormann was
the principal architect of machinations which saw a Liberal Upper House member
dumped from his seat in favour of one of Cormann’s acolytes.

In the time
left before the disendorsed member departed the parliament, sitting as an
Independent he joined with the Labor government and used his critical vote to
allow the passage of one vote one value legislation which has all but destroyed
the Liberal Party’s prospects at the next State election. The member had
previously indicated his sympathy for the reforms, however as long as he was a
member of the Liberal Party he was bound by the Party room.

Inasmuch as
one can determine where the new boundaries will be, based on votes cast at the
last election, the Labor Party will win almost exactly twice the number of
Liberal Party seats, a statistic about which the Liberal Party is apparently now
in denial.

The redistribution
will result in the addition of seven metropolitan seats and a corresponding
loss of country seats. The expansion in size of most country seats will see the
amalgamation of a number of Liberal and National Party electorates.

The very of survival of National Party parliamentary
representation in Western Australia
depends entirely upon them holding onto these seats. Under the new
redistribution, there are but four seats the National Party has any prospect of
winning.

The selfish
and boof-headed ambitions of Mr Cormann have not only dramatically diminished
the prospects of the Liberal Party winning the next election, they have so
reduced the parliamentary representation of the National Party that it is
fighting to survive and not to govern. It has deserted the Coalition to do so.

The
National Party campaign will be directed entirely against the Liberal Party.

Grylls is
an unashamed admirer of the idiosyncratic Barnaby Joyce. He has made clear that
in the event the Liberal Party is able to form a minority government, his party
in considering legislation will put that which the National Party views as country
voters interests ahead of all other considerations.

At a
strategic level, the Liberal Party’s rural policies going into the campaign
will be irrelevant to the electorate because the Party simply will not win
enough seats to govern in its own right and its policies, at best, will be
subject to National Party veto.

A National Party on the cross benches whose
survival relies entirely on starkly contrasting itself with the Liberal Party
in parochial sectional rural electorates will make life intolerable for a minority
Liberal government.

Having drastically
reduced the prospects of the Liberal Party winning the next election, driven
the National Party onto the cross benches and turned the crucial campaign in
the country into a shambles, Mr Mathias Cormann and his coterie are now working
to dump three Western Australian liberal Senators at the next election.

Peter Fray

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