The Liberal Party is in a parlous state. The latest low farce exhibition of the Michael Towke fiasco in NSW is a case in point.
The party organisation is at war, admittedly more overtly in NSW because of the far Right-wing takeover, but in every state and territory to an extent.
Pressures have been building for years, fuelled by a steady and orchestrated drift of power and resources from the states to the national secretariat which is, in reality, The Liberal Party. The states, if they are lucky, get the crumbs (and precious little else, as corporate donations have all but dried up).
Liberals’ leader in Victoria, Ted Baillieu, got himself embroiled in the turmoil after being rolled, according to reports, over whether to field candidates in the by-elections caused by the retirement of Steve Bracks and John Thwaites. Although the two seats are safe Labor, the Liberal Party saves an estimated $250,000 by not fielding candidates.
Get Crikey FREE to your inbox every weekday morning with the Crikey Worm.
This means all resources are going towards trying to keep the Federal Coalition in office.
The catch-cry over the years in the states, as the Liberals have squabbled, has always been about not rocking the Howard boat.
Should Howard lose, all this pent-up fury will vent. Whether the Liberal Party, as it is presently constituted, will survive, is problematic.
Power is what it is about and it will be the first time in its more than six decades of existence that it has never been in government anywhere in the land.
Interesting times ahead in the Lib camp.