At around 3pm today the nation will collectively exhale as the independents, after 17 days, announce who will make up our minority government.

In the meantime, there’s always The Australian

Yesterday our national broadsheet ran a front-page op-ed piece under the headline ‘On all counts, Coalition deserves independents’ by conservative Kenneth Wiltshire suggesting the independents should follow the advice of British statesman, author, orator, political theorist, and philosopher Edmund Burke and do what their voters wanted them to do. That is, install Tony Abbott:

When the member exercised his conscience, the wishes of a politician’s electorate was key.

Speaking of the constituents Burke said: “Their wishes ought to have great weight with him; their opinion, high respect; their business, unremitted attention. It is his duty to sacrifice his repose, his pleasures, his satisfactions, to theirs; and above all, ever, and in all cases, to prefer their interests to his own.”

On this basis it is clear that our three independents would support the Coalition to form government in today’s Australia.

One Crikey reader, who wished to be called ‘Prof Anon’ was compelled to write in to us:

I have never seen an academic quote someone and then ignore the fact that the next sentence starts with ‘but’ and that the remainder of the piece quoted goes on to explain why the statement before the ‘but’ is wrong. However, this is exactly what happens here. Burke’s very next sentence reads:

“But his unbiassed [sic] opinion, his mature judgment [sic], his enlightened conscience, he ought not to sacrifice to you, to any man, or to any set of men living.”

This is no small matter. Burke’s speech is famous for arguing AGAINST the idea that the MP should express the wishes and interests of his citizens — a view being put by his then opponent. He argued forcefully that an MP should exercise his judgement as a member of the nation’s parliament.

Oddly enough, The Australian locked off comments on the piece.

We’ll end with this wisdom of Prof Anon:

The approach the independents are taking are in line with Burke’s view. Wiltshire is arguing the case for his opponent yet claiming Burke. As is so often the case, the great conservatives of the past would not recognise those who claim the conservative mantle in the present.

Roll on 3pm…


Hit the website at around 3pm this afternoon for Crikey’s full coverage on the call that everyone’s been waiting for: who will form government?