(Image: Tom Red/Crikey)

The Liberal Party is facing a crisis, one related to gender, but it's not the one you think it is.

It's true that recent weeks have exposed a level of decadence and squalor that has surprised even many of its enemies. The Morrison government had managed, before and since the last election, to put together a programme and approach which combined voter self-interest and collective being (from the "promise of Australia" to the "quiet Australians") in a formula upon which Labor found difficult to land a blow.

Morrison appeared capable of mediating between the Coalition's hard right, and the centre/centre-right mainstream. He threw a few bones to the culture warriors, but also sought to defuse confrontations without capitulation. An example was invoking the convicts in the now-annual January 26 stoush: he proposed an alternative set of victims, rather than the Howard-Abbott approach of celebrating Western civilisation "with blemishes".