Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Lessons of 2007

The Liberals have been defeated and what does the media say? You read everywhere that the Liberals must turn away from their socially conservative wing and to the left - or else face a more permanent electoral ruin.

It's an odd lesson to draw. Consider the following:

a) The Labor Party won by studiously avoiding any upset to the socially conservative instincts of the electorate.

b) The state Liberal parties are all more "socially progressive" than the Federal party and all are out of office.

c) The most unpopular Liberal policy was Work Choices, which was more of an economically liberal measure than a socially conservative one.

However, I do believe that the Liberal Party has to consider the future carefully. If you look at an electoral map of Melbourne you find that the Liberals can only rely on a tiny belt of four safe seats. The north, the west and most of the south now belong to Labor.

The problem for the Liberal Party is that migrants generally vote Labor. In a Parliament of Australia electoral survey it was found that:

a) There are 18 seats in which more than 22% of the population was born in a non-English speaking country. In 2006 Labor held 16 of those seats. It now holds all 18. Labor holds 27 of the 29 seats with the highest proportion of electors born in non-English speaking countries. (p.39)

b) 32 of the 33 electorates with the most people who can't speak English well voted Labor in 2007. (p.43)

c) The 24 electorates with the most Muslims all voted Labor. (p.29)

d) These results don't seem to correlate to levels of income. Of the 37 poorest electorates, 23 were held (in 2006) by the Liberals/Nationals, 12 by Labor and 2 by independents. (p.57)

How might the Liberal Party react to this information? They could, I suppose, conclude that they have to be especially nice to migrants to win their votes. The problem is that the Liberals could not have done more for migrants during their term of office. Migration was set at record levels and education policy favoured fee paying students from overseas. Despite this, the trend for migrants to vote Labor continued, leading to a loss of the Prime Minister's own seat.

A more realistic option would be for the Liberals to drop their commitment to high levels of immigration. They would have to stand up to the big business federations in doing this, but otherwise the move would be a popular one. It would also secure a more viable long-term future for the Liberal Party.


  1. Ed,

    I agree mate. The CDP managed to raise their vote albeit only by a small percentage to the Greens. And which party had the highest vote percentage compared to any other party at the 2007 state election? The CDP of course.

    Why can't we all just admit that more needs to be done. Unfortunately Ed we can't see anything changing in the next few years. Labor will infact increase the number of muslims to immigrate to Australia, it's their policy and they like to appeal to that vote...

    We can't achieve this in our lifetime because unfortunately the damage is already done. We're in the generation with the immigrants in these Labor seats. It'll be tough to win them over, but not impossible given their higher than normal welfare dependancy (some immigrants) and their addiction to education particularly as you pointed out their attitude towards study and the policy of international uni places.

  2. It is a core belief of the Liberal Party to have high levels of indiscriminate immigration.

    Smashing the anti-immigration factions of the Labor movement was one of the main reasons the Liberal Party was created in the first place.

    Changing now would require the leadership to refute the party's history. Even the most (so called)conservative members, such as Tony Abbott, do not see ethnic nationalism as socially conservative.

    As long as we don't have gay marriage and environmentally friendly policies, the social conservatives would be perfectly happy with a non-white majority nation.

    The only people associated with the Libs who are anti-immigration are the voters who fall for the rhetoric and don't know the party's philosophical roots.

    We will never woo selfish capitalists to our side. They are as much the enemy now as they were when putting down the anti-Chinese rebellions over a century ago.

  3. The Editor of this site is quite correct in what he’s written. So too is Anonymous of Thursday 29 November 2007, 9:12, who is confirmed by the Left’s own admissions as to its historic opposition to immigration (See: “Search for Social Cohesion” Conservative January 2007, p 45 specifically footnote 28)

    However, something should be added:

    Firstly, a majority of the seats the Coalition lost were won by Coalition members on primary votes. It was the second preference flow-on from the Greens that cost them the seats, which eventually cost them Government.

    Thus, the election results were not a rejection of conservatism by the Australian electorate, rather the campaign over Green issues that attracted a less politically mature generation towards idiocrats such as Bob Brown and his motley crew of enviro-pixies. The fact that Labor’s Kevin Rudd spent enormous amounts of energy in trying to prove he is a social and economic conservative only confirms this further still.

    It also puts him into a bit of a pickle:

    The Unions spent over $100,000,000 in this campaign, and it is doubtful they invested that money for nothing. The electorate will see them come back, in much the same fashion they did under Hawke and Keating; the only question is when, how Rudd will manage it, and how his media advisors will spin it to the press. Moreover, the Greens obviously made a deal that involved them handing Labor Government, while they got an increase in their Senate representation. The pulp mill in Tasmania was motif in their campaign. So, if they ask Rudd to move against the mill, he will be putting the Unions off-side, and we can only speculate how they will react given WorkChoices will be scraped as well as their strangle hold on Labor’s Parliamentary and administrative wings. If however, the mill does not get scrapped, the Green’s ire will be evident in a hostile Senate, thus preventing Rudd from realising any of his owne legislative ambitions.

    The numbers are as follows (and correct me if I’m wrong):

    37 Senators for the Coalition
    32 for Labor
    5 Greens
    1 Family First
    1 No Pokies

    If the Greens and Labor vote en block, against the Coalition voting en block, it will be an even contest of 37:37. If the minor parties split evenly, it will still be an even split of 38:38. The question will be then, how will the minor parties vote on Labor’s counter-reforms? The Senate will effectively be dominated by two people, Steven Fielding and Nick Xenophon.

    Effectively, the so called “Rudd Revolution” is merely an extension of Howard’s legacy, while Rudd himself will now have to juggle competing interests vis-a-vis Greens v Unions, and face a Senate where two Senators, un-beholden to any major party, will probably play the most important role in Australia’s next 3 to 4 years.

    What I don’t understand is why Family First and the Christian Democrats campaigned against each other – what Australia needs is a solid Christian conservative political base that isn’t characterised by various feuding minor parties. Only then will they be able to exert greater influence by pooling their political and campaigning resources. The Right generally, displayed a remarkable level of disorganisation this time. Let’s hope things are different in 3 to 4 years from now.

  4. How many rightists actually do something apart from contributing to blogs and voting every half-decade? I’m sick of reading lamentations about the left winning on every front. Do something instead of speculating endlessly!

  5. Anonymous (directly above),

    People do what comes to them naturally. There's no point getting involved directly in the political process if you're not suited to it.

    However, I also share your concern about the criticisms of the Liberal Party that it's a right-liberal movement: if Traditionalists want to change it, sign up, get involved, change its "complexion."

  6. Anonymous (5:57), the Liberals have been in power for most of the past 60 years. But this electoral success hasn't translated into the conserving of traditional Australia. When you look at the reasons why, you find out that the leading figures in the party have really been right-wing liberals (rather than traditionalist conservatives) in their core political beliefs.

    So we have a situation in which most rank and file Australians have been traditionalist in their beliefs, but the political class has been liberal.

    So just getting the Liberals elected isn't enough. What's really needed is for at least a section of the political class to adopt a traditionalist conservatism.

    When and if this happens, I don't know exactly how this will translate into political action. It might be through the Liberal Party, or it might be through a newer party. Initially the emphasis might not even be on electoral politics.

    But you can't make progress without the support of a certain percentage of politically minded people. The passive support of the average punter isn't enough. You can't organise anything through it.

    There has been a small but steady progress made over the past five years. At least now a traditionalist conservative movement exists online at the international level. That's not enough to change things right now, but it's an improvement on what I encountered when I became a conservative in the early 1990s.

    Lawrence Auster's site now collects (from memory) about 800,000 hits a month. A European traditionalist conservatism is just now forming around several key figures.

    We have to go through this stage of building influence in the political class, even if it's natural to want to take action immediately.

  7. It seems to be a common pattern in English-speaking countries that working class whites are either not voting, or backing the main centre right party, while non-western immigrants are tending to back the centre left.

    In the last election in New Zealand, white, working class, provincial towns like Invercargill and Palmerston North swung towards the centre-right National Party, which expected to win in the early stages of the election.

    However, the Labour government was saved by strong support from the multi-cultural city seats with National's supposed East Asian vote failing to counter Labour's South Asian and Pacific Island support.

  8. Hello,

    I am an Australian born person of Greek origin.

    My views on immigration and multi-culturalism are as follows.

    I have always been a person of the left.

    I have grown up with the endemic racism that any 'wog' worth his salt has endured.

    I always fely that Australia's immigration policy was perfect.

    An Anglo nation populated with, Southern Europeans, Asians, Indians, Arabs, and Africans. All in descending order, population wise.

    It felt right. But now, I see that the future of this country is Anglo Asian.

    Europeans will stop coming here. But Brit's and Irish (as it is an English speaking country) will continue to migrate. And Asians of all colours will also continue toi arrive in increasing numbers because it is on their doorstop.

    But the major problem is the loss of language amongst my own people. I see it in Italians, and know that us Greeks are not far behind.

    So for me, as a Southern European, I feel more and more alienated, to the extent I am considering migrating to the 'homeland'.

    A different take on the loss of 'culture' that you guys talk about.

  9. nothing wrong with immigration... what matters more though is the type of immigrant.

    despite decades of insistance by governments of all hues, we aren't importing skilled migrants only. it is estimated that over 200,000 people of middle eastern descent live in Sydney now. virtually none of them have any skills, speak little english and hate our western values.

    thats the reason why 'immigrants' on the whole are voting Labor. Labor is the party of the left, and the left doles out cash to the undeserving and generally stands for anti-western values.

    If we want to arrest the advantage that Labor obtains from immigration, then we need to have a discriminate migration policy.

    Keep the trash out.

    thats why Howard was moving in the right direction with the citizenship test. But it was only tokenistic. Bring back the European language test i say!

  10. Anonymous (9:08), an interesting perspective, thanks. I think you're right about the trends. There are English speaking Britons, South Africans, New Zealanders and Americans who are still migrating here in numbers, but less so other Europeans.

    One of the problems for someone in your situation is that there is no more reason for liberalism to respect your preferred form of ethnic connection than any other.

    The particular ethnic balance may have felt right for you, but under the terms of liberalism such feelings aren't supposed to matter - it is held to be "racist" to claim that they do.

    Your comment helps to illustrate that liberals are wrong in this, and that even for an anti-racist person of the left, ethnicity does still matter.

    It is clear that you feel alienated by a loss of language and by a sense of ethnic decline.

    I hope things go well, whatever your decision.

  11. Anonymous (9:22)

    Agreed that some migrants will make more productive and peaceful citizens than others.

    High immigration based on skills, though, has its own problems.

    First, it still means a loss of ethnic identity for the existing population.

    Second, it will lead to an Asian professional and political elite in this country, placing the existing population in a more vulnerable situation.

    Third, it requires us to abandon the idea that we are a distinct people upholding a particular long-standing tradition. Once this concept is "down", standards inevitably fall.

    For instance, if you can simply get people from overseas, then why be too concerned at a loss of skills by local youth? Why be too concerned at a lack of family formation or family stability?

    And if there are many different peoples in the one country, who is going to feel a strong enough sense of ownership to act to uphold the public good? Who will sacrifice their own immediate interests to expose public corruption; to serve in the armed forces; or to uphold standards in morals, in manners, and in art?

    Diverse, mass immigration will further individualise and atomise society - even if we run a selective programme based on skills.

  12. Hello Mark,

    Re: “So we have a situation in which most rank and file Australians have been traditionalist in their beliefs, but the political class has been liberal. So just getting the Liberals elected isn't enough. What's really needed is for at least a section of the political class to adopt a traditionalist conservatism.

    That can only be achieved by getting the Traditionalist grass-roots active in the political sphere, since in my experience those already politically active are set in their ways; I have rarely if ever met any politician who was open to suggestion and willing to be convinced of an alternative view, or as you say, “you can't make progress without the support of a certain percentage of politically minded people. The passive support of the average punter isn't enough. You can't organise anything through it.

    As for the impact of changing ethnic demographics on the political process, at least according to the Left, you reply to Anonymous (Greek Origin): “The particular ethnic balance may have felt right for you, but under the terms of liberalism such feelings aren't supposed to matter - it is held to be ‘racist’ to claim that they do.” NZconservative highlights that so-called ‘progressive’ politics is essentially racial in character, or as you say “even for an anti-racist person of the left, ethnicity does still matter.” Of course it matters, it is one of the main reasons why Leftist governments get elected in the West.

    Considering all this, I can’t help by feel that society at large will only start feeling detached and translate this cultural disenfranchisement into its voting trend when it is too late. This is because the Green voting group will only feel detached under an extreme form of multiculturalist utopia: witness Europe, which has it so much worse than us here in Australia, and they still haven’t reacted.

  13. Kilroy,

    Your numbers aren't entirely correct re the Senate. Remember the government choses a President of the Senate, and he does not vote.

    So if the minor parties are split down the middle, it's not going to be 38:38, but 37:38 in favour of the Opposition.

    If the Coalition votes as a group, it will only be defeated if everybody else votes against it in a collective.

    I can't imagine getting the ALP, the Greens, Family First and No Pokies to all agree on anything, can you?

  14. Kilroy, you've made a number of good points.

    In the US, there was a successful grass-roots campaign this year to defeat amnesty for millions of illegal immigrants. The campaign seems to have been led by several immigration reform websites.

    So getting the rank and file active can work, though it requires leadership from people with the resources and career position to undertake the role.

    I think my own efforts are best directed at making inroads into the political class.

    Yes, it's not easy to shift people who have already formed their political views. Still, Lawrence Auster often publishes emails from readers who have made such a transition (not from professional politicians though).

    You're right that political change in Europe is much slower than you might expect given what is happening over there.

    Let's see what happens politically in 2008.

  15. I think the problem in Europe is a combination of apathy and the on going fear of Nazism. The political class are a very distinct element in the society of the West, with the leaders of the supposed "labour parties" now being thoroughly brought into the fold.

    I would recommend reading Peter Heather's work, "Fall of the Roman Empire". One thing that struck me was his description of the education of a member of the Roman elite, which was based largely upon an intensive study of classical Latin literature, grammar (and logic) and culminated in a year's study under a rhetorician. The idea was that a member of the elite was morally and intellectually superior to the hoi polloi - and trained to speak in a logical, and persuasive manner in the classical mould. He then made the point that speaking in such a manner, which was markedly different from normal everyday speech by the period, marked such a person out as a member of the elite, and reinforced the need for all members of the landed aristocracy to have such an education to be part of the elite.

    I think that the enlightened intelligentsia of our time, our political elite, have to speak their own language. It isn't so much defined by accent as it is by liberal ideas. Specifically, shedding the "baggage" of the past and finding your "own truth"; being against the wiff of "racism"; being "accepting" of alternative cultures; being disdainful of our own heritage (which stems from the above). These are "ideas" that all people deemed "educated" are supposed to possess. I think that at least part of the reason why anyone who thinks in supposed "ethnocentric" terms is immediately denounced as "ignorant". Yes I know it is also used as a smear, but I've heard it used even where the person using it admits they don't know much about the subject, and actually like and even respect the person they're objecting to. I think it is a prevalent thought amongst the "educated elite" that people who express such things cannot possible be part of their group, and hence must be "ignorant", like the great unwashed.

    Obviously an "educated" and "enlightened" person cannot take direction from the "ignorant", and so they ignore them. The fact that the late PM actually did so, even if it were more in appearance than reality, back in 2001 is the reason why such hostility erupted. The government was seen as taking direction from the base, ignorant masses instead of from the educated elite. Moreover anyone who wants to aspire to be part of this elite, and be worthy of attention, must adopt the same level of speech. This is why it was often the case at university that someone could apparently hold views that tended to be somewhat different to those one found out when you knew them better and could speak privately.

    I fear the problem is simply beyond the leftist ascendancy in academic positions - but is in the heart of the elite's entire self image. It is also why anyone that may say some things that sound a bit outside the squares in this (people such as Abbot) have to make some uber-liberal comment to attempt to show that they aren't "ignorant".

    It often used to strike me as odd that people in poorer areas (and I actually know quite a few) who've lived amongst aboriginal families and have a negative attitude because they've had bad experiences are called "ignorant" by people who've had no real experience of aborigines at all because of their views. Now they have a one sided view of aboriginal culture, generally been exposed to the worst of it, namely criminal or anti-social behaviour, and haven't experienced the family loyalty or other more positive sides of the aboriginal population, but I don't think it is more ignorant than someone whose entire experience of aborigines is reading various articles on their "plight", or speaking to one or two members of the aboriginal elite at some "hands across the bridge" event. It does, however, make perfect sense to make that statement when it is taken that an "educated person" wouldn't make such statements.

    This is why Europe is moving so slowly, in my opinion, as to move would require cross party support, and none of the members of the elite sitting in Parliaments and assemblies want to not seem as members of the club.

    This is something that we're going to have to break to restore some balance back to our societies.

  16. Question: Can Australia afford to face the economic consequences of reducing immigration in a globalising world? Is the nation-state dead? Was Howards biggest liability in fact his greatest achievement as a globalist?

  17. What actually are the "economic consequences" of reducing immigration? Not only does China not have any significant immigration relative to it's population, but it actually has a policy designed to reduce the population.

    In contrast Germany may produce quality products, but it isn't in the top league of performers of economic growth despite it penchant for "guest workers". The other factor which we need to take into account is precisely what you want from economic growth. If you're looking at GDP per capita, a measure of the standard of living, the increased GDP growth due to immigration is less than the increased population growth. Hence, although economic growth is higher, the growth in GDP per capita is actually less. The truth is that mass immigration increases the wealth of those who own property at the expense of those who don't. Those coming from "poorer" countries are generally better off, although often not as much as they think they'll be, and if you sold a house in London, you could still buy a larger and more palatial house due to the exchange rate and property price disparities. Does this do much for the local population though?

    Mass immigration and lower labour costs MAY be significant if you were talking about labour intensive manufacturing, but most of Australia's exports are either minerals and energy (these things are not evenly distributed across the earth's surface), or agricultural produce where Australian growers are quite efficient and non-labour intensive despite fairly poor soils. The other reason for high investment levels in Australia are down to the political stability of the country, and the follow on effect that their money won't be appropriated by some renegade government - it's hard to imagine even Julia Gillard openly promoting that. Mass immigration, however, is the thing most likely to change all that. Just food for thought.

  18. While we all dump on how Howard ‘wasn’t conservative enough’ for our liking, let’s not forget that he did prevent some of the Left’s hobby-horses from bolting in the last 11 years of government.

    Now, just one week after defeating the Coalition, Labor has signalled that it will not block any proposals to re-introduce gay marriage legislation in Australia’s Capital Territory: Cathy Alexander, ‘Corbell to Revive Gay Union Act,’ Canberra Times 30 November 2007; Jonathan Pearlman, ‘Law Will Recognise Gay Unions,’ Sydney Morning Herald 1 December 2007.

    Let’s not forget that Rudd went to great lengths to prove that he was a Christian so as to cut into the conservative voting demographic (Kevin Rudd, ‘Faith in Politics,’ The Monthly October 2006) however, he has also been reluctant to be seen as too Christian: Andrew Bolt, ‘Who Is The Real Rudd,’ Herald Sun 5 October 2007. This man is a political chameleon, and any future political historian worthy of his own salt will have to declare that the election on Saturday 24 November was proof of how a naïve electorate could be duped in a liberal democracy like Australia’s.

    This is what the Australian Christian Lobby has to say about the pending gay ‘marriage’ laws, which I’m sure will become part of our legal order in the near future (as will a Bill of Rights enshrining all manner of deviancy, no doubt):

    Gay Partnerships and a Test of Faith for Labor

    The ACT Government has mounted a fresh push for civil partnerships now that a Labor Government has been elected federally […].

    ACT civil union legislation was overturned last year after ACL alerted the Coalition Government to the way it mimicked marriage. ACT Chief Minister Jon Stanhope left the current civil partnerships bill in abeyance in the ACT Assembly in February this year when the Coalition Government announced it would also be blocked. ACL subsequently received assurances from Mr Rudd that Federal Labor would not support this legislation.

    This push for civil partnerships is likely to be a test of faith for the new Labor Government with the Christian constituency, along with keeping its commitments on issues such as foreign aid spending, ISP filtering and climate change.

    We have confidence in Mr Rudd’s integrity on the issue. Federal Labor would also not want to be seen to break an article of faith with the Christian constituency so early in its Government.

    Federal Labor has given Christians important commitments on this issue which we have taken confidence in. For example, in its answers to the ACL election questionnaire, the ALP said:

    ‘Labor does not support legislation to recognise same-sex marriage or civil unions or to make changes to the definition of marriage.’ The answer also makes clear that the ALP does not support schemes which ‘mimic marriage.’


    At this stage, it is likely that the ACT civil partnerships legislation won’t be debated before February 12 next year. In the meantime we would expect that Kevin Rudd would speak with ACT Chief Minister Jon Stanhope and let him know that he is unwilling to put at risk his commitments to the Christian constituency and that it is important he can demonstrate that the State and Territory Labor Governments can work well with him.

  19. Here's more code from Rudd about how he screwed Australian Christians into thinking he wasn't a hard-line secularist like Bob Brown:

    'Public Servants Will Advise Me, Not God: Rudd,' The Australian (OnLine) 30 November 2007.

  20. Relax, some people still believe that the conservative wing of the Coalition has a great deal of legitimacy. Just have a read of Greg Sheridan's piece in The Australian of 22 November (it was written assuming Rudd-Labor would win): click here.

  21. The funnel through which the body public are informed does not often allow for full truth or widest perspective to reach the voters. Which is something that is used to political advantage all the time by politicians, left or right. In that reality the coalition have, over the past half decade made it their mission to speak to the apathetic and disenfranchised former one-nation voting 35+ non-urban mainly male constituency on the subject of national identity. Without ever having to mention race, from the Prime Minister down, coalition ministers and local MPs have exploited the symbolism of dark, often shrouded or bearded faces arriving in barely sea-worthy boats to show, often with great force and conviction, that the Ordinary Australian is in charge of our national identity and the devil may care what anybody else thinks of that. Which in previous elections may have worked to their advantage. Comments from an allegedly corrupt former minister, indicating his personal view that the local communities in his electorate were 'exhausted' by sub-saharan african refugees - a hark back to the Hansonite "swamped by Asians" remark merely gave the impression that concealed beneath a politically correct veneer lies a darker more sinister and parochial racial prejudice within the conservative political parties of Australia. Epitomised in a Prime Minister and leader, a white middle-class suburban male, with a twang in his voice, well into his 60s carrying all those prejudices of mostly retired generation. The fact that skilled migration has soared under the Howard Government and that refugee intake and placements for legitmate refugees are the second highest in the developed world, mean precious little to new Australians and younger voters who see skin colour as a superficial and insignificant distinction and live the reality of a multiracial if not multicultural Australia and take offence to the very idea that the ideas and values of decency, fairness, freedom and opportunity that are Australia should be denied to those for whom such ideas and values are most desperately sought and so highly regarded. As a constituent of Gary Hardgraves and a dyed-in-the-wool liberal voter I was apalled and ashamed by his comments and the then Prime Minister's woefully inadequate response to his MP's desperate and unimaginative attempts to convince white, blue-collar men to vote liberal - a constituency lost to labor via the 'your rights at work' campaign, probably well over a year ago. It once again highlighted to all voters how relevant Kevin Rudd is and how finished Howard was. For so many migrants the liberal party's core beliefs of individual rights, liberty and the championing of the self-made individual are and always will be relevant. Migrants can identify readily with these ideas and it should be the mission of the new liberal leadership to speak to migrants, to reaffirm liberal values to migrants and bring what should be natural liberal voters into the liberal fold. The politics of ethnic division has moved to the peripheral of the political horizon, for now, and the liberal and national parties must readily and willingly acknowledge this fact and embrace this current political reality.

  22. Banana Roark wrote:

    Without ever having to mention race, from the Prime Minister down, coalition ministers and local MPs have exploited the symbolism of dark, often shrouded or bearded faces arriving in barely sea-worthy boats to show, often with great force and conviction, that the Ordinary Australian is in charge of our national identity and the devil may care what anybody else thinks of that.

    He (she?) may wish to note that under Howard, “we have admitted more Asian immigrants than any previous government, and more Muslim immigrants than any previous government, and more Muslim refugees” (see: Paul Sheehan, ‘Little Squares that Define the Nation’, Sydney Morning Herald 2 January 2006). In fact, immigration under Howard increased by 40%.

    Re: “Epitomised in a Prime Minister and leader, a white middle-class suburban male, with a twang in his voice, well into his 60s carrying all those prejudices of mostly retired generation.”

    Oh, please, the prejudice in that comment is astounding. It was the focus on a unified and unique Australian culture, not a balkanised one based on ‘multiculturalism,’ that provided for a healthy society at peace with itself. Rudd’s reference to ‘diversity’ in his victory speech indicated that we are back along the path of the multicultural and racially divisive politics of the liberal left.

  23. Actually Banana Roark, what is it that you support about the Liberal Party, out of interest? Is it a matter of wanting to cut out welfare and have lower income taxes? No wonder you didn't like Howard. Regarding the generational change thesis. Multiculturalism was really promoted, as I understand it, by Whitlam, who was thrown out of office some 32 years ago. It was also promoted during the Fraser years, and after being on the back burner for a while, was trotted out during the Keating era as his form of "excitement", and in the belief that ethnics were so gullible and parochial (unlike those racist, red neck, Anglos apparently - still as an Irish Catholic he had a lot of anger towards them, like his younger protégée, Latham) that they'd vote for him despite the state of the economy if he pitted them against the so-called Anglo mainstream and "establishment". Keating was bundled out 11 years ago. The White Australia Policy itself was dropped more than 40 years ago, and the dictation test (its centrepiece) abolished 50 years ago next year! I think the +35 years old figure (and remember those people were +28 at the 2001 election) is simply an attempt to claim that you "speak for the future".

    I am unsure about the real figures considering the votes of people from "non-English Speaking Backgrounds", although our host's statements are very interesting in this regard. Many (not all) immigrant communities are poorer than the Australian average, and far more dependent upon welfare - this alone gives them a greater incentive to vote ALP (remember if you can vote, you can claim benefits). Then there is the fact that the ALP has now got ethnic faction voting blocks in many of its branches. Look at the way they attempted to unseat Simon Crean by using the "Cambodian Block" to vote against him by convincing their "head man". If such community leaders have such influence, then they may, indeed, swing large numbers of such ethnic voters towards the ALP, as the ALP gives them substantial influence. Whilst the Liberal Party isn't immune to branch stacking (that's how Turnbull is in Parliament - he simply bought sufficient memberships in his electorate for friends and other proxies of his), I would hope this sort of route (which must ultimately promote ethnic division) is one the Liberals don't follow.

    There is always going to be a vote for a conservative party, just as there will always be a vote for a "popular" or "pro-worker" party, but I don't think there is really room for two parties wedded to "low taxes and cultural progression". If Rudd's government upsets voters with political correctness (as Keating did), where is this anti-Rudd backlash going to go if the Liberals support the whole project? If there is no backlash against Rudd, then the Liberals won’t win power anyway. It doesn’t work at state level, as has been shown by the last 6 years.

  24. For so many migrants the liberal party's core beliefs of individual rights, liberty and the championing of the self-made individual are and always will be relevant.

    In my own life I've experienced the breaking down of a stable culture of family life; the decline in a positive culture of masculinity and femininity; the loss of Western national identities and culture; a decline in moral standards; falling birth rates; a continuing decline in the Western fine arts; and rising levels of crime and violence.

    I don't see that the Liberal Party values listed above are adequate to address these fundamental problems.

    Do I really want to be a "self-made man" in a declining civilisation?

    For those who care about their own tradition, the task is to move beyond liberalism toward a more genuinely conservative politics.

  25. Regardless of statistical fact, my point is that the perception of an Anglofile Prime Minister and an immigration policy that punishes boat people via albeit temporary imprisonment and the wonderfully titled "Pacific-Solution" has fed the idea that we will take your money and put your skills to use in our economy but it remains our economy and your presence is to otherwise be ignored because you are ethnically, religiously different from the ordinary historically white anglo-saxon-celtic majority.

    "We will decide who comes to this country and the circumstances in which they come" suggest that ethnic minorities are forever-guests regardless of their willingness and/or success at integration/assimilation. I'm not arguing that there is anything fundamentally wrong in that principle or that that is even the driving force behind the policy, or that we should support or even allow the 'balkanisation' of our culture. I am merely pointing out that it was this perception of the Howard Coalition that saw the large majority of ethnic minority voters support the Labor party in this election.

    I don't think that the ideals and values which Mark believes - and which I also believe - should underpin a conservative political tradition in this country are necessarily antagonistic to ethnic minority Australians. Far from it, I believe in an inclusive conservatism that does not distinguish between and make judgements upon racial differences because there is no need or justification for it. It is a different thing however, from distinguishing between and making judgements upon cultural differences - which is indeed necessary in establishing and maintaining that conservative national and political tradition.

    A multicultural society is a separate thing entirely from a multiracial one. Having grown up in South Brisbane in suburbs teaming with immigrants at times, I have been able to form my political values devoid of any fear or racial prejudices. Yes you notice it when a Sudanese breaks into your home and steals your big screen TV (if indeed you have one!). But it is not the fact that he/she is Sudanese that has brought the anger, fear and resentment that your home has been violated - it is the sheer fact that it has been violated at all. Is theft inherent, for example, in Sudanese culture? I do not believe it is. Family however is hard work and religious tradition both are. Many admirable qualities with which Conservative Australians can readily identify and connect.

    On the point of race-based factions within the political parties, while it is part and parcel of some of the more urban branches of the Labor Party it should not be ignored that certain ethnic and religious minorities are recruited into the Liberal Party's NSW branches by both Moderate and Conservative factions, based on loose ideological allegiances and in large part due to the ongoing, seemingly never-ceasing factional war being waged in that branch of the party. Is this good? Is this bad? Should ethnic or religious minorities be recruited by any political party on the basis of that minority status? No. Should they be recruited for the purposes of branch-stacking? No but that has nothing to do with either race or religion but internal party democracy or rather the subversion thereof and is a topic for another discussion elsewhere.

    I believe the Liberal Party should strengthen and build upon the conservative tradition Mark has spoken about. I do not believe it should be at the expense of or to the exclusion of ethnic minority Australians who may potentially identify with said tradition. I reject the suggestion that a multiracial society could lead or has lead to the decline of birth rates, a culture of family life, masculine and feminine identity or a decline in moral standards. A culture of materialism, a decline in the role of the church and marriage, extreme ideological feminism and a left-intelligensia that has sought to turn our understanding and acceptance of the natural gender dichotomy iside-out is largely to blame. But they are not alone. Our Churches have failed to connect with X and Y generations in large-part and have failed to repudiate the dispicable culture of child abuse that has shaped this hugely negative perception of our churches as institutions in which children are no longer safe. Are churches instutions of child abuse? No, of course not. But I am not arguing that they are, merely that they are perceived to be by many Australians who 30 years ago would have felt very differently.

    Yes people get divorced too easily and the value of marriage has been undermined by a changed attitude toward divorce and marriage. Should it be harder to get a divorce? Perhaps. I do not however want to return to a situation where women in physically abusive marriages should have to endure a lifetime of suffering without any legal option to vacate the marriage. Where then do we go? I do not have the answer.

    Parents have in large part, absented themselves from their childrens' lives leaving violent and amoral videogames and popular television programmes to fill the void. It is the precise reason why four teenagers in Brisbane who recently avoided custodial-sentences, two male and two female, could not only bring themselves to torture and humilate a disabled child but actually enjoy it and laugh about it. I believe we have removed the moral force of Church and Parent by allowing the credibility of one to deteriorate and the other to simply make themselves irrelevant. The courts merely seal the fate of our society by removing all consequence and responsiblity from the lives of these young people.

    I do agree that increased crime rates and an increase in certain types of crime such the pack-rape phenomenon can be laid at the feet of those champions of the political correctness that say all cultures are equal and all cultures should be tolerated when quite clearly there are beliefs and subsequent behaviours that are totally and unquestionably intolerable, anywhere, least of all on Australian streets and in Australian communities.

    Is immigration the root cause of our social ills? No I do not believe it is. In some respects, have some segments of the ethnic minority communities played a role in the degredation of our values and our traditions? Yes, I will agree with that. But it is and always will remain, a minority within a minority and the value added to our society and our economy through immigration vastly outweighs the negative impacts of immigration.

    All of these issues form part of a much larger conversation political leaders of all persuasions, are simply not having with themselves and the country. If I somehow gave the impression that I was anti-howard or anti-conservative I do apologise. I simply set out to say that racial difference is not a reasoned, logical or moral basis for the liberal party and Australia to adopt the policy of exclusion. That there has existed a perception that it is, albeit a false one and that the Liberal party ought to overcome that perception if it is interested in getting elected anywhere, ever again.

  26. Banana Roark,

    First, let me state one important area of agreement. I don't believe that immigrants are generally responsible for what has gone wrong with the West. You can trace the problems with the West to the gradual unfolding of the logic of liberal first principles. These principles have been enacted, to a large degree, by Anglo-Saxon males.

    So we have ourselves to blame.

    There are other areas in which I disagree with you. First, there's little evidence that right-wing parties can successfully change perceptions and reach out to ethnic minorities. It's been tried in the UK and in the US to no avail.

    Second, I think it's natural for people to want to conserve their ethny and not just their culture.

    Third, once you give up on preserving a distinct ethny, then the floodgates are open and it's difficult to argue for conservatism.

    For instance, if ethny doesn't matter then you can go anywhere for citizens. This means that you don't have to take family formation seriously, nor the education and training of the young.

    It means too that the borders of the nation are fluid and unstable. You can be British one decade, a member of the European Union in another, and a member of a pan-European/Arabian state in another.

    Remember too that the reasons why it's considered illegitimate to argue for ethnicity are the same reasons why it's considered illegitimate to argue for stable family life, for masculinity and femininity, for traditional moral codes and so on.

    Finally, I think your analysis ignores the current reality for the Liberals. The Liberals won elections under Howard by capturing the conservative working-class vote. If the conservative working-class is given a choice between a globalist Labor Party and a globalist Liberal Party then rationally it will choose to vote Labor.

    So the Liberals will have to wait for voter fatigue or for Labor Party extremism (i.e. Keatingism) to have a chance to win office. Rudd seems much too clever to aggravate the working-class to the extent Keating did.

  27. A reader at AJFA (Marko) posted an interesting extract from the SMH about how the Asian vote effectively booted Howard out of his own seat: Phillip Coorey, 'How Labor's Machine Wom Asian Votes for McKew,' Sydney Morning Herald 13 December 2007 (page 2):

    "Labor headquarters sent into action a 'crack team' of 'Chinese- and Korean-speaking twentysomethings' to liaise with the Asian communities. Saville told the Herald the operatives were groomed through the Young Labor movement and worked the party's Electrac data system incessantly to target Asian voters with emails and visits."

    "They later integrated themselves into the largely Asian Maxine Support Group, or MSG."

    "McKew's campaign office secured a phone number that ended in 888 because many Chinese believe 8 to be a lucky number."

    "Thousands of how-to-vote guides in Chinese and Korean were printed and delivered, as were testimonials from prominent members of the Asian community."

    "Rudd's daughter, Jessica, and her new Hong-Kong-born husband, Albert Tse, were used frequently."

    "In the final week of the campaign they accompanied McKew at a function at the Eastwood Chinese Senior Citizens Club. Tse gave a speech in Cantonese, Jessica Rudd in Mandarin. The Chinese-language newspaper Sing Tao ran the story on its front page."

    "Rudd's own affinity with China, evidenced by his command of Mandarin, was pivotal, as was Howard's earlier attitude to Pauline Hanson's One Nation and his controversial 1988 comments on Asian immigration."

    "On the last day of the campaign, Sing Tao's front page carried the story of the race-hate pamphlet scandal in the seat of Lindsay. Next to it was a story mentioning Howard's 1988 comments."

    "A day later, voters handed Maxine McKew her place in history."