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How do Canberra Libs get out of the wilderness?

By Garfield - 28 March 2014 56

In his opinion piece in today’s Canberra Times, former Liberal Senator for the ACT Gary Humphries has said that the Canberra Liberals face a continued stretch in the wilderness unless they change their conservative ways.

http://www.canberratimes.com.au/comment/long-march-in-the-wilderness-ahead-for-local-liberals-20140327-zqni1.html

I vote Liberal because I don’t think the Labor Government has been doing a good job, but I know many readers of the RiotACT don’t vote Liberal.  In the spirit of it being a good thing to have a viable alternative to the current government I’d like to ask what do the Canberra Liberals have to do to win those extra votes they need to form government in the ACT?

What’s Your opinion?


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56 Responses to
How do Canberra Libs get out of the wilderness?
1
Frances 5:56 pm
28 Mar 14
#

I’m a Liberal too but I can’t vote for the ultra conservatives like Z Seselja, Guliar Jones, Alistair Coe, Vicki Dunne and so on (sigh – is the list endless) so I end up voting all over the place. Come on Libs get some policies that will resonate with your electorate. It is possible to be socially progressive and economically conservative you know. Unless you learn that, you’ll never win government.

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2
pezza 8:51 pm
28 Mar 14
#

Reduce the size and scope of the ACT bureaucracy, focus on the delivery of essential services. We’re one city and not a big one at that – just stop pretending to be anything more important and special than a city council.

In-source the essential services again, like garbage collection. (I don’t necessarily think this is at odds with my first point. There are functions and services Government should provide, and ones they don’t need to.)

Stop the cheap pointscoring by opposing necessary, if unpopular, reforms like those recommended by the Henry tax review.

25 MLA’s is fine if they are accessible – pretty much a replacement for Canberra Connect.

Annual vehicle inspections required for rego renewal.

… Oh – and give Canberra motorsport enthusiasts somewhere to enjoy their pastime.

Lastly, maybe change their party name? I don’t think being associated with their Federal-level counterparts is doing them any great favours.

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3
bikhet 7:05 am
29 Mar 14
#

Frances said :

It is possible to be socially progressive and economically conservative you know. Unless you learn that, you’ll never win government.

If they did I’d be really tempted to vote for them. Not for the current lot though.

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4
Alderney 7:55 am
29 Mar 14
#

How can the Liberals get out of the wilderness? Become liberals for a start (that may go over the top of some of your heads).

When I sat on management committee some years ago I told them that if they ever wanted to win government they needed to be more left than right. I even told one of those right-wing nutters, who goes by the initials JK, that the clue was in the name of the party.

Apparently, liberal is a term of derision.

I’d start by cutting loose the young libs, as currently, their numbers control the party. Whoever controls the young libs controls the party because the young ignorant ones think it’s all a game and consistently vote as a block. Zed better watch his back ’cause the Coe’s coming to get your senate seat, in about 2 terms.

That being said, as a political scholar, I firmly believe the whole paradigm of the party political system in Australia needs a radical overhaul whereby, the left of the liberal party and right of the labor party form a centreist party, the greens are left on the left and the conservatives are left on the right. The union movement, if it wans to stay politically involved, needs to go back to its roots by selling its vote on each issue to whomever gives it the best deal on that issue, and have any of its political representatives remain on the cross benches otherwise.

This however does come with the added cost of perpetual minority, or at the least loose coalition, government.

That’s it in a nutshell. It’s difficult to write a thesis on the issue on the riotact.

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5
mr_spoon 8:48 am
29 Mar 14
#

Disclosure: I’m a left-of-centre voter who always feels some disappointment as my preferences inevitably slide towards Labor.

What would get me to vote for the Libs? As Gary H suggests in the CT article, ditching the conservative zealotries and offering to represent the views of the Canberran population would be a start. Defending Canberra from the Abbott government’s rapine would help. Running a campaign of vision rather than blame and fear would be welcome too.

So, evolve. The righties will inevitably vote Liberal so there is opportunity to move back towards the centre to wedge Labor.

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6
pepmeup 10:07 am
29 Mar 14
#

The local libs need to run a few more moderate candidates, like Kate Carnell and Gary Humphries. who in the current Canberra Liberals is a moderate? I thought Jeremy Hanson was but it seems he is trumpeting the Conservative line. I would have thought Brendan (I once owned a business) Smyth was but no.

The one thing I think is they should run some moderate candidates, and allow them to say they are moderate socially progressive liberals. Under the Haire Clarke system, voters don’t only get to elect the government but we get to decide the members who make up a government and the opposition. We can assume that both major parties will run 25 candidates in 2016, five in each. the libs should run two moderates in each electorate. That way moderate voters an help change the liberal party to a party that more represent the fiscally responsible, socially progressive community.

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7
dungfungus 11:04 am
29 Mar 14
#

pepmeup said :

The local libs need to run a few more moderate candidates, like Kate Carnell and Gary Humphries. who in the current Canberra Liberals is a moderate? I thought Jeremy Hanson was but it seems he is trumpeting the Conservative line. I would have thought Brendan (I once owned a business) Smyth was but no.

The one thing I think is they should run some moderate candidates, and allow them to say they are moderate socially progressive liberals. Under the Haire Clarke system, voters don’t only get to elect the government but we get to decide the members who make up a government and the opposition. We can assume that both major parties will run 25 candidates in 2016, five in each. the libs should run two moderates in each electorate. That way moderate voters an help change the liberal party to a party that more represent the fiscally responsible, socially progressive community.

All you have said may be feasible but as long as union members are compelled to be members of the ALP and vote for them it is all academic.
I would love to hear from a member of the CPSU that has refused to toe the line.

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8
HiddenDragon 11:25 am
29 Mar 14
#

HiddenDragon said :

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9
miz 12:18 pm
29 Mar 14
#

I am quite conflicted on this issue. Canberrans are intelligent and know how govt works. They expect value for money from local government. While this is almost unachievable with the current model, at least they could stop wasting money on impossible high court challenges and light rail projects that will actually clog up Northbourne and aims to duplicate an effective bus route already extant.

Federally I tend to prefer Labor due to their strong education and health policies, but I truly dislike local Labor, due to their complete disregard for Tuggeranong in general and poor decisions that have negatively affected me directly in particular. My perception is that ACT Labor (and the sole Green) seem to have no qualms about treading on individuals and the community in general so long as they stay in government, yet they are generally crap at actually improving local services. They are clearly la-la-la-ing with their fingers in the ears about the light rail project, and are worsening already-poor checks and balances on planning and development. They are still stuck in a 1980s ‘user pays’ time warp which everyone knows is inequitable.

That said, I truly detest the economic rationalist agenda of federal Libs and their quest for selling everything off and ruining the things that make Australia great, like Medicare, in the pretence that private enterprise (i.e. their mates rubbing their hands together) can do it better, which everyone knows is blind ideological BS. Canberra is a government town. Canberrans have seen it all before and KNOW stuff. They cannot be hoodwinked like ‘Western Sydney’.

I think the local Libs could easily tap into people’s disillusionment with local Labor. But the trouble is the local Libs seem to be in bed with developers and would probably want to privatise everything. They would truly have to banish this fear if they want to get in, and resist the temptation to privatise if they do actually get in.

My tips to local Labor and Libs are:

1. commit to improving municipal services (e.g. green bins, hard rubbish collection, bus to airport and arboretum) and not on costly and pointless grandstanding (like wasteful high court proceedings) or expensive projects like the light rail that duplicates a bus service already in existence
2. Don’t piss off Canberrans by having a privatisation agenda. It’s so 1990s and people are still angry now about it. There are some essential things that just should always remain in public hands, for the public good – e.g. water, power, communications, public transport and food bowl agri land.
3. Ditch light rail and use funds for all Canberrans, e.g. bus route improvements – e.g. why is there no bus to airport or arboretum?
3. Do something about housing affordability. It has been ridiculous for years and ACT Govt policy is not helping. Eg restore first home buyers grant on established homes.

[Rant over]

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10
JC 1:28 pm
29 Mar 14
#

For me very simple. Present themselves as an alternative government, not an opposition party.

For all the supposed mistakes of Labor, I am yet to be convinced the Libs could do any better so my vote stays right where it is.

To convince me they need to stop whinging and whining and present alternatives. One such example Mr Coe carries on about all the time is dead running on Action buses. So Mr Coe what would you do that is practical to stop this? What about road works, you talk about poor management from Labor, yet what would YOU do differently? Bearing in mind of course that the day to day running of programs is with the public servants who will be the same no matter who is in charge.

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11
Garfield 2:02 pm
29 Mar 14
#

Alderney said :

That being said, as a political scholar, I firmly believe the whole paradigm of the party political system in Australia needs a radical overhaul whereby, the left of the liberal party and right of the labor party form a centreist party, the greens are left on the left and the conservatives are left on the right. The union movement, if it wans to stay politically involved, needs to go back to its roots by selling its vote on each issue to whomever gives it the best deal on that issue, and have any of its political representatives remain on the cross benches otherwise.

I’ve had similar thoughts about the state of the nation’s politics being in a better place if both the major parties split more or less in half. The liberal name could stay with the moderate section of the party while the conservatives formed their own party and the labor name could stay with their left faction with the right faction becoming the progressive party. There would have to be a lot more time spent talking about what each party wanted to achieve compared to the situation now where its a valid strategy to just rubbish the other side.

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12
nazasaurus 4:01 pm
29 Mar 14
#

miz said :

I am quite conflicted on this issue. Canberrans are intelligent and know how govt works. They expect value for money from local government. While this is almost unachievable with the current model, at least they could stop wasting money on impossible high court challenges and light rail projects that will actually clog up Northbourne and aims to duplicate an effective bus route already extant.

Federally I tend to prefer Labor due to their strong education and health policies, but I truly dislike local Labor, due to their complete disregard for Tuggeranong in general and poor decisions that have negatively affected me directly in particular. My perception is that ACT Labor (and the sole Green) seem to have no qualms about treading on individuals and the community in general so long as they stay in government, yet they are generally crap at actually improving local services. They are clearly la-la-la-ing with their fingers in the ears about the light rail project, and are worsening already-poor checks and balances on planning and development. They are still stuck in a 1980s ‘user pays’ time warp which everyone knows is inequitable.

That said, I truly detest the economic rationalist agenda of federal Libs and their quest for selling everything off and ruining the things that make Australia great, like Medicare, in the pretence that private enterprise (i.e. their mates rubbing their hands together) can do it better, which everyone knows is blind ideological BS. Canberra is a government town. Canberrans have seen it all before and KNOW stuff. They cannot be hoodwinked like ‘Western Sydney’.

I think the local Libs could easily tap into people’s disillusionment with local Labor. But the trouble is the local Libs seem to be in bed with developers and would probably want to privatise everything. They would truly have to banish this fear if they want to get in, and resist the temptation to privatise if they do actually get in.

My tips to local Labor and Libs are:

1. commit to improving municipal services (e.g. green bins, hard rubbish collection, bus to airport and arboretum) and not on costly and pointless grandstanding (like wasteful high court proceedings) or expensive projects like the light rail that duplicates a bus service already in existence
2. Don’t piss off Canberrans by having a privatisation agenda. It’s so 1990s and people are still angry now about it. There are some essential things that just should always remain in public hands, for the public good – e.g. water, power, communications, public transport and food bowl agri land.
3. Ditch light rail and use funds for all Canberrans, e.g. bus route improvements – e.g. why is there no bus to airport or arboretum?
3. Do something about housing affordability. It has been ridiculous for years and ACT Govt policy is not helping. Eg restore first home buyers grant on established homes.

[Rant over]

+ 1 . I would vote for you. Also if you promised to get rid of the ACT Human Rights Commission and other things a council should not be involved in.

One a lighter note, lets make it easier for organisers, community groups and entrepreneurs to hold events in Canberra to make the place more lively. The Multi Cultural Festival is great, but it has grown too big, and now an overt money making venture. Why cant be have more of these types of ‘big’ events, actively promoted by the Government, and designed to add vibrancy to the city, and not just a kids and family event. I get the impression its just too hard and difficult to overcome hurdles to do these things in this city.

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13
milkman 4:09 pm
29 Mar 14
#

As a wealthy and educated place, Canberra is quite lefty. The traditional Lib model will only work where people become disillusioned enough with local Labor to stick the boot it.

This is why the Libs don’t care much about Canberra. They know nothing they do will ever be good enough, or the right way, so why bother?

I’d happily support whoever decided to get to focussing on core services and stop wasting resources on all the other bullshit the current government seems to love.

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14
Queen_of_the_Bun 7:53 pm
29 Mar 14
#

dungfungus said :

pepmeup said :

The local libs need to run a few more moderate candidates, like Kate Carnell and Gary Humphries. who in the current Canberra Liberals is a moderate? I thought Jeremy Hanson was but it seems he is trumpeting the Conservative line. I would have thought Brendan (I once owned a business) Smyth was but no.

The one thing I think is they should run some moderate candidates, and allow them to say they are moderate socially progressive liberals. Under the Haire Clarke system, voters don’t only get to elect the government but we get to decide the members who make up a government and the opposition. We can assume that both major parties will run 25 candidates in 2016, five in each. the libs should run two moderates in each electorate. That way moderate voters an help change the liberal party to a party that more represent the fiscally responsible, socially progressive community.

All you have said may be feasible but as long as union members are compelled to be members of the ALP and vote for them it is all academic.
I would love to hear from a member of the CPSU that has refused to toe the line.

I am a union member – MEAA – and have never joined a political party, nor been compelled to vote for one. I know many CPSU members, but have no idea if any of them are members of any party.

I know there is no point asking you to provide evidence for these claims. But you are completely wrong on this one.

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15
dungfungus 9:13 pm
29 Mar 14
#

Queen_of_the_Bun said :

dungfungus said :

pepmeup said :

The local libs need to run a few more moderate candidates, like Kate Carnell and Gary Humphries. who in the current Canberra Liberals is a moderate? I thought Jeremy Hanson was but it seems he is trumpeting the Conservative line. I would have thought Brendan (I once owned a business) Smyth was but no.

The one thing I think is they should run some moderate candidates, and allow them to say they are moderate socially progressive liberals. Under the Haire Clarke system, voters don’t only get to elect the government but we get to decide the members who make up a government and the opposition. We can assume that both major parties will run 25 candidates in 2016, five in each. the libs should run two moderates in each electorate. That way moderate voters an help change the liberal party to a party that more represent the fiscally responsible, socially progressive community.

All you have said may be feasible but as long as union members are compelled to be members of the ALP and vote for them it is all academic.
I would love to hear from a member of the CPSU that has refused to toe the line.

I am a union member – MEAA – and have never joined a political party, nor been compelled to vote for one. I know many CPSU members, but have no idea if any of them are members of any party.

I know there is no point asking you to provide evidence for these claims. But you are completely wrong on this one.

One of the ALP ACT branch membership application conditions:

“The Australian Labor Party (ACT Branch) Rules require applicants
to be a financial member of a trade union, if there is a union that
covers their occupation, trade or profession that they are eligible
to be a member of. All applicants who are financial members of a
union that is affiliated to the ALP are entitled to a membership fee
discount (refer to list of affiliated unions overleaf).

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