Where to now for the Liberal Party?
Certainly electoral success certainly does not lie in the direction Tony Abbott and Nick Minchin are taking it, which is more less back to the middle years of the Howard Government, before even John Howard started to understand that Australians wanted something done about climate change.
Tony Abbott will probably boost the Liberal vote off its current lows, simply because it has fallen about as far as it can without eating directly into the Liberal base. Abbott, like the man he replaces, is a conviction politician. Voters like politicians who stand for something clear. But of course Abbott’s problem is that his convictions are deeply offensive to many voters, particularly women.
Liberal moderates, who have lost their leader and their position on climate change, are now in a very dark place politically, because many of them are on the front line, in the marginal seats that will be the first to fall when Abbott leads his party to a smashing defeat against Kevin Rudd. The likes of Nick Minchin, safe in his Senate eyrie, and Bronwyn Bishop, concreted into a safe seat, will survive the looming electoral massacre, free to drag the party even further to the Right after the next election.
This is a disastrous day for the Liberal Party and, ultimately, the quality of our Federal political life.