Fifteen months ago, Josh Frydenberg asked if we could have some coffee. Today, I’m Monique Ryan’s volunteer manager – leading his 1,500 volunteers in an effort to topple him. How did it happen?
In 2016, I was encouraged to work for a “moderate” Liberal MP, whom I choose not to name. The theoretical interview was one of the most homophobic experiences of my life. Climate skepticism, sexism and disregard for basic scientific principles have not helped. If it’s the moderates, who the hell are the conservatives?
The truth is, there’s little difference between a moderate and a conservative if you vote the same way, protect the same selfish culture, and promote the same lines. Some people claim that moderates are nice people, but just being a good person isn’t enough. You must be a good person.
Good people would take action against climate change, protect LGBT rights and support an anti-corruption commission. Good people don’t attack their own state as it struggles to control a pandemic, or use charities and public institutions to advance their own political causes.
The legacy of Scott Morrison and Frydenberg is a forecast of trillion dollars in debt, a stagnant energy sector, Australia’s decline on Transparency International’s corruption index and the promotion of what I believe to be the worst political culture we have ever known. These are not the accomplishments of honest people.
Their lack of substantial leadership caused the Liberal Party to lose its way. Commitment to small-l liberal values crumbled under the weight of party greed and infighting.
As the son of a Liberal prime minister, I could be on board, I could run a Liberal MP’s campaign. But I can not. I’m sorry, I don’t want to be rich or powerful at the expense of others. This is not my business. I don’t claim to be a good person. But I try to be, and that’s more than I can say for many modern Liberal MPs.
I slowly drifted away from the party – in that generation of leaders I saw little to admire. If we want better leadership, we have to foster it ourselves in the community.