Australia: Why culture wars are worth the fight for Coalition

Australia: Why culture wars are worth the fight for Coalition. By Peta Credlin.

The former Coalition government routinely declined to fight the culture wars on the grounds that arguing over whether Australia was “invaded” or “settled” wouldn’t make any practical difference to people’s lives.

But it does make a difference to people’s attitudes — and attitudes are what decide elections. Predictably, the new government is not making its predecessor’s mistake. …

As Abraham Lincoln reputedly said, it’s the philosophy of the school room in one generation that determines the philosophy of the government in the next.

That’s why the new Albanese government has been so quick out of the blocks with key policies designed to stress not just that the new government is different but also morally better. Implicitly, if not always explicitly, Labor has been much better than the Liberals at appreciating that there’s a values dimension to politics, as well as a practical one.

Voters, especially those of the “moral middle class”, don’t just want to be reassured that their leaders are competent; they want to feel that they’re decent too. This helps to explain why the recent campaign so favoured Albanese — who was better at connecting with people — over Scott Morrison, even though the former PM exposed his rival’s weakness on policy and detail. …

Labor is going hell for leather to burnish its zeitgeist credentials — with more action on climate change and a referendum to entrench in the Constitution an Indigenous voice to the parliament. …

Unless the Coalition, in opposition, is prepared to engage beyond the economy — to get involved in the culture wars in ways it never did in government — it’s likely to become either the government’s ineffectual accomplice in policies it’s ambivalent about, or be dismissed as the party that knows the cost of everything but the value of nothing.

Nothing more clearly illustrated Morrison’s split-the-difference approach to national identity issues than his practice of first acknowledging country and then acknowledging veterans — as if a nod towards the armed forces “balanced” the notion that “country” belonged to some of us rather than all of us.

The former education minister Alan Tudge was prepared to call out the politically correct brainwashing inherent in a national curriculum that taught every subject from an Indigenous, sustainability and Asian perspective (implying that our country is stolen, our culture is inadequate and our environment is being pillaged) but the government could never bring itself to change it.

Dutton has got to do better than this. In the end, what are we? One cohesive nation or a collection of tribes, ethnicities and genders all nursing our grievances and looking for the next chance to take offence? So far, the new ­Opposition Leader is saying that he has an “open mind” on the Indigenous voice while asking the government for more detail. …

Soon enough, though, he’ll have to ramp up the level of challenge on these issues without ­appearing indifferent to them. Eventually, well before the next election, that will mean having his own policy to acknowledge the lot of Indigenous people, without ­dividing the country; and his own way of tackling climate issues without impoverishing us. …

The more the government drifts into scolding Australians over identity and climate (because its dominant green-left won’t be able to help itself), the more Dutton needs to stress that our weaknesses are not nearly as important as our strengths. And unlike his predecessor, actually get out there and defend them.

By the next Australian election — due in 2025 — Australia will be well into class warfare. The professional classes will be backing the activists left, the corporates, and every institution in the country against the rest of us (aka the deplorables). The media will only tell stories of how righteous and deserving their class is, or how evil and stupid the deplorables are. And they will vehemently deny it’s about class and money, but only say its about race, sex, wokeness, and moral aspects.

We will be told that it’s definitely not about the money, and how big government dispenses money. Did you know that feudalism wasn’t about the money either? Apparently the serfs were just morally inferior. Yes, really, all the best people said it.

hat-tip Stephen Neil