Tuesday, 12 July 2016

The Liberal Party blame game begins in earnest

After seven days of blaming Labor, the Greens, GetUp!, Twitter, the unions and/or the stupidity of voters generally, finally someone in the Liberal Party of Australia begins to be somewhat truthful about reasons behind the electorate’s loss of confidence in the Abbott-Turnbull Government.

Although Michael Kroger's naming of just the current prime minister and treasurer in relation to the loss of  possibly 14 seats in the recent federal election indicates a failure to accept that this Coalition Government was toxic from the moment it was sworn in on 18 September 2013.

Victorian Liberal Party president Michael Kroger has sheeted the blame for the government's disappointing election result to the Prime Minister and his Treasurer, citing a lack of "economic leadership in the country" as one of the key reasons the party failed at the polls.

Mr Kroger also pointed to a period of policy confusion between last September and May when Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and Treasurer Scott Morrison floated potential changes to the GST, the ability of the states to raise their own taxes, negative gearing, capital gains tax and superannuation.

Amid the period of policy confusion, Mr Turnbull took to Facebook to publicly deny a Fairfax Media report that he was killing Abbott government's Tax White Paper, and then five months later killed the Tax White Paper

"It was a period of absolute confusion for business and for voters," said one senior Victorian Liberal on Saturday.

Speaking on Melbourne gay and lesbian radio station Joy 94.9 on Saturday, Mr Kroger blamed the government's back-flipping on policies for its electoral failure.

"In that period when we were putting things on and off the table and the electorate formed the opinion, 'well if you fellas, if you people, don't know what [you] are doing, that's a problem'," he said.

Mr Kroger said backflips on the GST, in particular, hurt the government at the polls. "The electorate got a view that we didn't have a clear idea of where we wanted to take the country in terms of the economy." 

Asked by host David McCarthy if the party had "lost the campaign", Mr Kroger said "it is not the campaign that people should focus on, it's what happened on the period September to May".

In September last year Tony Abbott lost the prime ministership to Mr Turnbull. 

Mr Kroger said the polls showed the Liberal Party had 56 per cent of the vote "when Malcolm came in" and that had fallen to just 49 per cent by the time the election campaign started.

"So it is not the campaign, it is this period September to May, and unfortunately, in that period, we didn't take the opportunity to take control of the economic leadership in the country," Mr Kroger said.

"The Liberal Party's number one brand equity, the reason people vote for the Liberal Party, is because we have a long and distinguished history of being better economic managers than Labor, and that's what the public think."

Mr Kroger suggested the government, through its repeated policy backflips, had lost that trust of traditional Liberal voters.

"Political parties have to take responsibility for their own performance," he said. "The results slid dramatically from a 56-44 result, where we were 12 per cent in front to one where we are either 1 per cent behind or to level. Something happened, something dramatic happened, it wasn't an accident, something dramatic happened."

However for other Liberals it is business as usual in the political blame game......

ABC News, 11 July 2016:

Cabinet minister Christopher Pyne has lashed out at right-wing colleagues who anonymously brief the media, labelling them as "cowards".

Mr Pyne's criticism came as the ABC's election computer determined the Coalition had retained the central Queensland seat of Flynn, taking it to 75 seats, one short of forming a majority government.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull's tight election win is expected to embolden conservative elements of the Coalition.

A conservative MP reportedly said right-wing backbenchers would now be able to dictate government policy.

"[The Prime Minister's] theory was to win and win comfortably, so the conservatives would all have to kneel at the altar of Malcolm Turnbull," the unnamed MP told News Corp.

"Well, I think someone else will be kneeling at the conservative altar now."

Mr Pyne said colleagues who snipe anonymously lacked "character" and "wherewithal".

"Whoever said that, if they did really say it, they should put their name to things like that," he told RN Breakfast.

"It sounds very brave and chest beating when you say it anonymously, but I'd love a person who says things like that to actually put their name to it.

"Because without their name it's just cowardice obviously ... cowardly statements in the press from anonymous sources who haven't got the wherewithal and the strength of character to put their names to those kinds of flowery statements."

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