When Barnaby Joyce wasn’t making a complete turkey of himself with his stance on Student Unions today he was reinventing the conservative movement in a speech to the National Press Gallery.
Given that my political bias is in the conservative direction (who’d have thunk it…) I was interested in what he had to say. It was intelligent and articulate – unlike his education efforts.
I’ve mentioned before (I think) that I have tremendous respect for Joyce based largely on an interview I did with him in my uni student days.
Here are some highlights, it’s a long speech and worth a read.
On the nature of politics
Playing only to the centre however has its dangers. In the desire to be opaque, lukewarm, inoffensive and passionately politically tepid, there are flanks that open up to the left and to the right of the centre.
The Labor Party strategy is very adroit in that their flank is covered by their able lieutenant, the Greens, who orchestrate political pas de deuxs on issues where it is inconceivable that the right could outflank them on the far left. “
On Climate Change
Let’s look at a current issue that clearly shines a spotlight on this problem. I believe there is a paradox that the conservatives can represent a voter who in the same breath could be skeptical without ruling out the role of the Government being responsible for bringing about moral good, so coherently believes in small tax and small government, yet also believes in a social program tax, such as the emissions trading scheme to haunt us all with its battalions of bureaucratic tin gods on the quest for Australia to cool the planet.
While conservative voters will care for the environment, they may divide on how to best achieve that outcome. Many conservatives question whether an ETS, a tax, should be placed on businesses regardless of whether they are profitable or not, and regardless of whether the proposition put forward has any efficacy on what it wishes to achieve, global cooling.
On the budget/debt
I have never seen anything so peculiar as the exit strategy that was handed forth in the little orange book by Mr Swan in the last stimulus package. Basically what we had was two bullet points that said when things get better we will pay the money back. I never knew it was so easy. If I have to go back to accountancy I will try this out on sundry bank managers. I will sit on behalf of my client on the other side of the bank manager’s desk and say “you see Mr Smith of the bank, Mrs Jones will pay you back that $2m she owes you when things get better”. In the past I have always found this slightly more difficult than what was proposed to me by the Treasurer. Paying back debt should be the absolute primary motivation for this current government.
On crossing the floor
You know, it doesn’t make the news in the United States when some senator crosses the floor, but you know, you’d think the sky would fall in which case, in my case, it must have fallen 28 times.
But life goes on and I think a great sort of – you know, if we could just – the source of this problem was that the Labor Party with Fisher, decided the one-in, all-in approach so they emasculated the process of the Senate.