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Former Liberal opposition leader Dr John Hewson is of the opinion that the Liberal brand is tarnished – perhaps beyond repair – unless the party does something about it, and soon.
“The Liberal Party is totally consumed by itself. It is an unfortunate combination of selfishness, ignorance and pure arrogance to ignore what has happened to the standing of the party in the Longman and Wentworth byelections, and the Victorian State Election and, even worse, to deny any lessons, simply offering spurious and fallacious excuses blaming everything and everybody else,” wrote Dr Hewson for The Age.
And he may be right. Certainly, many typical Liberal voters have chosen to select independent candidates in recent elections and, heaven forbid, even Labor candidates.
If the Victorian State Election could be considered the death knell for the state Liberal Party if not for the Federal Liberals. At the very least, it was a harsh wake-up call.
But, then again, maybe Liberal politicians don’t care. Their party has had it pretty good lately. Incumbents have held seats and the Federal Libs still somehow sealed up the last two federal elections.
Maybe the Liberals have rested on their laurels for too long and lost interest in actually performing their national duties. Party veterans seem more concerned about protecting their jobs, defending potentially conflicting business interests and keeping their bums in those cushy parliamentary seats. This ‘malaise’ has done no favours for the party. And Dr Hewson certainly seems to think so.
“The reality is that the Liberal brand is damaged. The party is now characterised by disunity and disloyalty, by tribalism, not by principle or policy but by personal interests – not even party interests and certainly not the national interest,” wrote Dr Hewson.
“The Government is increasingly presenting as a directionless rabble, a perception compounded daily by knee-jerk reactions by Scott Morrison and others as questions and pressures arise. Traditional Liberal voters are the forgotten people.”
So, we want to know what you think of the Liberal ‘brand’. Has it been damaged beyond repair? Or has the whole system suffered as a result of constant infighting, bickering and instability? Why not take part in our Friday Flash Poll and let us, and them, know what you really feel about the current state of democracy?
And of course, we welcome your opinion in the comments below.