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Friday, 16 July 2021 09:11

Barnaby's Choice

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Barnaby's return to national leadership is a hope and an opportunity.  The left loves to hate true conservatives.  They hate Barnaby.  But will he deliver for those of us who hope for a better politics in this country?

Barnaby's return to national leadership is a hope and an opportunity.  The left loves to hate true conservatives.  They hate Barnaby.  But will he deliver for those of us who hope for a better politics in this country?


When all seemed lost – and perhaps it still is – the Morrison Government has found someone hated by the progressive elites that have come to dominate Australian mainstream politics.

Some years back, I argued that Barnaby’s greater sin was not deserting his then wife, but rather that he refused to use his Party’s power to keep Malcolm Turnbull away from the top job.  In a way that the Old Nats then led by John McEwen did in the 1960s, after Harold Holt vanished, when he refused to serve under a Liberal (Billy McMahon) that he despised.

This was an egregious error and a missed opportunity to rid the polity of someone that, sadly, John Howard (in retirement) had the chance to, but didn’t.

The Nationals have not suddenly snapped back to being Black Jack rather than Brokeback.  Far from it.  The Nats’ recent refusal to welcome back an intellectual heavyweight of spine, traditional values and impact – John Anderson – preferring a former leader of the Young Liberals, they suggested that they remain an ideological mixed bag, at best.

As for the Liberals – fresh from their purge of Christian conservatives in South Australia and the shuffling off-stage of Nicolle Flint, Kevin Andrews, Craig Kelly, George Christensen and (possibly) Amanda Stoker – must be shifting uneasily, even squirming, on their ministerial leather benches at the thought of a returned, unwanted interloper of Joyce’s type.  A maverick conservative with residual anger from his earlier banishment and with strong views on a range of issues that the Liberal wets had thought were safely parked, indefinitely.

The return of the moral outlaw to a position of power immediately triggered those who we would wish to trigger.  Whether it is the ageing, hippie cyclist in front of me at the Woolies checkout mumbling about coal or The Australian’s Troy Bramston, the opponents of conservatism in Australian politics are suddenly troubled again.  Post Tony Abbott, there are very few right-of-centre politicians in Australia other than Pauline that the ruling class feels challenged by, and feels the need to publicly hate and despise. 

Barnaby is a reminder of what it used to be like to have right-wing leaders that, to quote the fictional Francis Urquhart of British television fame, were disposed to “putting a bit of stick about”.  Certainly not ScoMo, or Gladys, or the virtual unknowns who govern the outer states of Tasmania and South Australia.  They have nailed their values, to the extent that one can divine them, to the globalist, progressive mast.  Under the cover of Covid “management”, these centre-left Liberals have tacked to the elites. 

There is an old rule.  You know you are hurting the opponent when he attacks with vitriol and invective.  Since Abbott was defenestrated by his own, the usual suspects on the other side have been mostly dormant.  They don’t even need to be engaged in the battle.  This suggests that the Liberals have given up the fight.  Or worse, that they have joined the enemy.  ScoMo’s ill-informed, indeed, ideologically clueless, pronouncements on freedom of speech and the culture wars, for example, are sufficient to convince even the most casual observer that he doesn’t remotely know there is an ideological fight in which he might choose to be engaged.  Or that he knows there is a fight on, but he either doesn’t care or isn’t up for it.  Gladys isn’t even close.  She is on the other side, striding ever onwards with her leftist lieutenants towards the sunny uplands of woke nirvana.  Her liberalism is left-liberalism, and always was.  On the greatest threat to freedom in any of our lifetimes, that of the Covid Deep State, the Liberals are gone for all money.  Like Daniel Andrews, they are crushing us with a thousand stomps on our necks.  In ScoMo’s case, to save his own neck.  They are shills for the global ruling class.

What can one hornery Nat achieve, even if he is Deputy Prime Minister?  He isn’t going to overthrow ScoMo.  What would be the point?  Unlike in 1974, when Billy Snedden was “leading” the Liberals around in ever diminishing circles, there was a Malcolm Fraser who, at least at the time, looked like a leader and a conservative to boot.  Of course, as it transpired, neither of these things was true. 

There is no one else waiting in the Liberal wings to which Barnaby might turn, in the short term. 

Then there is the opportunity for a ministerial refresh, to inject new talent.  Getting rid of the Invisible Man (aka Michael McCormack) was a step forward.  Not reinstating Matt Canavan – presumably at his own request, for whatever reason – is a shame.  The Adventures of Bridget McKenzie resume, but she of the grant rorts doesn’t inspire much joy.  The rorting of electoral goodies for the bush has been the only reason for the Nats to exist, of late, and that needs to change.  One hope she has learned her lesson.

Next there is the opportunity to SAY the right things.  The rhetorical flourish that gives opponents the irrits.  As stated above, this is a strength and an opportunity for Barnaby.

But what about actually using his new-found status and position actually to shift policy?  The Nats’ main point of difference from the dripping wet Liberals is on the climate change scam, the false promises of much-subsidised renewable energy – whose advancement, let’s face it, is the primary reason for the climate scam, apart from ushering in world government – and the war on coal.  Angus Taylor could do badly with some help here.

This is all to the good.  But it is elsewhere that Joyce might better wield power.  Remember that the Morrison Government survives on a wafer-thin margin.  If, for example, Flint, Andrews and Christensen were sufficiently miffed by some policy action or other on the part of the Government – say, the total gutting of our rights and our freedoms because of a minor virus and the Government’s bungled and fascist efforts to deal with it – they could threaten to bring the Government down.  If the combination of Morrison’s threatened vaccine passports and Berejiklian’s mandated QR code entry to just about any insititution aren’t sufficient to exercise the consciences of Liberals already grumpy and existing the building, I don’t know what is.  The same goes for Grumpy Barnaby and his newly empowered Nats.

Time, as they say, to put a bit of stick about, Barnaby.  Think of Black Jack.  Just do it.

Read 1393 times Last modified on Friday, 16 July 2021 09:17
Paul Collits

Paul Collits is a freelance writer and independent researcher who lives in Lismore New South Wales.  
He has worked in government, industry and the university sector, and has taught at tertiary level in three different disciplines - politics, geography and planning and business studies.  He spent over 25 years working in economic development and has published widely in Australian and international peer reviewed and other journals.  He has been a keynote speaker internationally on topics such as rural development, regional policy, entrepreneurship and innovation.  Much of his academic writing is available at
His recent writings on ideology, conservatism, politics, religion, culture, education and police corruption have been published in such journals as Quadrant, News Weekly and The Spectator Australia.
He has BA Hons and MA degrees in political science from the Australian National University and a PhD in geography and planning from the University of New England.  He currently has an adjunct Associate Professor position at a New Zealand Polytechnic.