These Liberals have missed the point of the party

These Liberals have missed the point of the party, by Janet Albrechtsen.

Having imprudently cancelled parliament for a week, the Turnbull government could use its spare time to reacquaint itself with the liberal mindset. The one that believes in more — not less — liberty, greater individual responsibility and the corrupting power of big government. And the one that understands the three vices of government: taxing us too much, spending too much of our money poorly and, worst of all, presuming to tell us how we can spend the bit we’re left with after we’ve paid our taxes.

It was once a safe assumption that a Liberal leadership team understood all of this. They understood that a system that taxes work and investments while subsidising non-work has an inherent flaw of discouraging work and investment and encouraging non-work.

Sadly, today there is bipartisan weakness when it comes to genuine tax reform to provide incentives, not penalties, for work. …

High spending is now bipartisan:

When the government spends other people’s money on other people, it invariably makes poor spending decisions. The aim then should be to spend less of other people’s money, leaving more for them to spend themselves.

Sadly, high spending has become bipartisan, too: spending as a percentage of gross domestic product sits at 26.6 per cent in 2016-17, higher than the 26.1 per cent in 2008 under Kevin Rudd and much higher than the final years of the Howard government, at 23.6 per cent in 2006.

You might think that a Liberal government would at least resist the third vice of telling us how we can spend our own money. That sin of government is a truly illiberal form of nanny-statism, the home of paternalistic, far-left Greens who assume they know better than us how we should spend our own money.

The new left no longer champions the working class, instead disparaging them as deplorables and preferring identity politics. But meanwhile the main “right party” has been co-opted by the big government sentiment and PC that used to be the exclusive terrain of the left:

Smaller government, and less government interference in our lives, used to be a core Liberal Party principle accepted as a good starting point within a Liberal leadership team, meaning the prime minister, the treasurer and senior cabinet members.

So too was personal responsibility. Even if we sometimes make the wrong decisions, mistakes teach us how to become more responsible. It was once a safe assumption that, in contrast to Labor and the Greens, senior Liberals responsible for policy understood that politicians should not infantilise people by encouraging them to see government as a curer of all ills, because that would inflict far worse evils on society.

Not any more. Instead, it’s left up to a solid and growing group of Liberal backbenchers to protect the party brand, keeping it true to liberal values and clearly distinguishable from the paternalistic illiberalism of Labor and the Greens.

hat-tip Stephen Neil