Saturday, August 30, 2008

Lisa Molinaro interviews Otto Marasco about the L Party

"... This is the challenge, to successfully differentiate the party from Labor through the upholding of traditional Liberal values associated with Social Conservatism and Economic liberalism and in doing so not alienating the electorate. This is very challenging because at least on the surface, today’s ALP advocates a belief ... "

Thursday 28 August 2008


LISA MOLINARO: It has been a tumultuous nine months for the Liberal party. A comprehensive election loss last November coupled with ongoing leadership issues have meant that Kevin Rudd has enjoyed an otherwise easier run to date.

Joining me today is Otto Marasco who is the owner and author of the blog, The L Party. Now Otto, I was going to ask what the L Party is all about but after having visited myself I think you’ve pretty well covered it onsite so instead I ask, why; why the L Party?

OTTO MARASCO: Thanks Lisa, I think it’s fair to say that I felt compelled if you like, to kick start something online for promoting the Liberal Party and also as an outlet for expressing my ideas, concerns and questions on not just the Liberals but the Rudd Government especially after the Kevin ’07 experience last year. The ALP made far better use of the World Wide Web and was able to communicate its message effectively, particularly to our younger voters.

LISA MOLINARO: So you are targeting a younger audience because it sure doesn’t read that way…

OTTO MARASCO: I’d like to think that it targets a wide-ranging audience so in a sense you are correct in saying that it doesn’t read that way. Let me say this though, The Liberal Party as I see it, needs to uphold its traditional values as related to social conservatism and economic liberalism but in doing so they need to explore methods of making these values fashionable if you like, in a world where progressive media rules the print and electronic airwaves.

LISA MOLINARO: Like the ABC perhaps?

OTTO MARASCO: Certainly the ABC and lets not forget Fairfax, it’s a vast reach they have in terms of breadth and depth of audience and includes many local or community papers. But getting back to the upholding of traditional values part, the process can be assisted by seeking ways to develop a conservative online infrastructure to shape the party’s thinking. Now obviously I refer to think tanks and the like, but also the development of online communities that include freelance commentators and bloggers not too dissimilar to those that are aligned with the Republican Party in the United States. In Australia, we simply do not have a conservative Liberal blogosphere, it’s about time we did as a way of driving the message, to assist the idea generation process for more inventive policy development, not just for election campaigns but between elections as well.

LISA MOLINARO: So this is where the L Party comes in…

OTTO MARASCO: It’s my hope that the L Party can be one of many online portals that can assist. A small contribution to the development of an online community, that can include and bloggers. The new media must be embraced and especially I might add youtube, as another medium or vehicle to connect with the electorate.

LISA MOLINARO: I’ll come back to this but changing the subject, the Rudd Government has been criticized for dong very little of substance to date but some have suggested that the liberals did nothing for ten years, how do you respond to that?

OTTO MARASCO: How do I respond? I would have to say that they’re misinformed, what can I say, misinformation, ignorance perhaps, actually its certainly a lack of knowledge I mean, if free trade agreements, world beating economic growth, very low levels of unemployment, massive reduction in Government debt is doing nothing, and I’m only scratching the surface, then someone’s out of touch.

LISA MOLINARO: So why did they lose so comprehensively?

OTTO MARASCO: I notice you used that term earlier, I don’t think its right to say beaten comprehensively just beaten. We must realize the Libs finished with nearly forty-seven and a half percent of the two party votes with a large number of seats that could have gone either way. Of the eighty-three seats Labor won, nearly ten seats were won by margins of less than one point five percent, seats like Bennelong, Solomon and Flynn come to mind.

LISA MOLINARO: But for all the talk of great economics, they were beaten.

OTTO MARASCO: It was Rudd, who incidentally is very good with the media, the unions and the general ALP campaign machine that did, I must say, did a fine job in communicating their message.

LISA MOLINARO: So where too, what must the Liberal party do to get into office, is it simply a case of resolving the leadership crises?

OTTO MARASCO: On the last question, the Liberal leadership question will be fully resolved within weeks or at most a month or two that I am sure of. On what they must do to win back office, that’s a big question with lots of possible answers, I would however suggest that they avoid at all costs, falling into the trap of me too – isms. I’d hate to see liberal politicians trying to occupy the middle ground with Rudd ‘07 style “me too” responses in regards to existing and future policy development. This is the challenge, to successfully differentiate the party from Labor through the upholding of traditional Liberal values associated with Social Conservatism and Economic liberalism and in doing so not alienating the electorate. This is very challenging because at least on the surface, today’s ALP advocates a belief in being a fiscally responsible unit, in small governance, in minimal taxation, and free markets. I mean hello. So these ideals needs to be marketed such that firstly, the electorate appends them to the Liberal party as apposed to the ALP and secondly in a manner that makes them palatable for the electorate or so to speak. It’s easier said than done, but with the development of new media strategies and the development of an online liberal conservative infrastructure it’s far from impossible. It is here that we can do with a lesson from our American conservative colleagues I refer to the Michelle Malkins, Ann Coulters and Jules Crittenden’s of the world.

LISA MOLINARO: So I gather you’re saying that its not just a case of drawing more visitors to the Liberal Party website …

OTTO MARASCO: Well it’s that too, like it would not hurt to start some moderated discussion boards on the site but it’s so much more. Speaking of the site, I offered one valuable suggestion to the Liberal Party’s Futures Committee earlier this year. I thought that the site member’s profile section was lacking and suggested that it be overhauled so as members can provide information about themselves, perhaps incorporating optional questions such as, what motivated you to join the party. Alternatively, about specific contributions the member feels he/she can make to the party, there are many options. At this critical time, its vitally important that the party screen members for talent to maximize the contribution each can make. Being able to provide more information within the member’s only section of the Liberal party site is a helpful first step. In my case, I had several suggestions to make but was disappointed to see that no provision was made to share them.

LISA MOLINARO: Any ambitions yourself, a career in politics perhaps?

OTTO MARASCO: The thought has crossed my mind more than once Lisa

LISA MOLINARO: Otto, I’m afraid that’s all we have time for which is a pity because I thought you were just getting on a role. Maybe we can continue this another time.

OTTO MARASCO: Feel free to ask, always available

LISA MOLINARO: Good luck with the L Party


Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Mid-week message board

That time of the week again ... It's your turn to make comments on whatever topic aspect of Liberal Party matters you choose and/or takes your fancy.

You can provide a name or remain anonymous it does not matter, the only rules are:

(i) No course language

(ii) Keep the discussion civil

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Labor suggests less

When Howard said that "working families have never had it so good," he alienated many and gave Rudd a label that soon became a catchphrase for a triumphant campaign. Over a year has passed has he, (and Costello) not been vindicated, or do some believe that working families are better off now? I don't think so:

Daily Telegraph polling of Sydney voters reveals working families he invited to the fore of his election campaign are worried about going backwards. Almost 80 per cent of those surveyed by Galaxy said household finances had tightened since the change of government last November. And 56 per cent were less optimistic than they were in November. These are the people who helped get Rudd elected by lending their circumstances to his campaign rhetoric, and their votes to his elevation. If that is the reading for Sydney, the richest and usually most optimistic city of the nation, then feelings in the regions and the smaller states could be bleaker. Liberal shadow treasurer Malcolm Turnbull believes that, with Rudd, “the empathy of ‘07 is replaced by the impotence of ‘08”.

[ ... ]

Rudd believes his trips have not gone beyond the bounds set by that other great traveller, John Howard. That is one reason why he packs his visits with engagements. He doesn’t want the slighest hint of junketeering. But the year is not over yet and boundaries set by Howard’s odometer readings will be further tested. Rudd soon is expected to fly to New York for the sitting of the UN General Assembly and reinforce Australia’s case for membership of the Security Council. He also will attend an APEC summit in Peru late in the year. Further, he has made public promises to visit India before the end of the year, and to attend regional talks organised by Indonesia. The red-eye-to-red-eye itineries will be getting a further workout.

Read the whole article here

If memory serves me right, I also recall that anyone who suggested that Howard may have been correct about his infamous working class families statement was bluntly told that they were, "out of touch", thus Rudd's main political tick is summed:

Symbolism that leads no where. Public servants and left-wingers love symbolism. Because symbolism focuses on a moral rather than tangible outcome, it allows left-wingers to get government money without needing to be accountable for doing anything useful with it. Not surprisingly, Rudd’s symbolic gestures have won him praise from vocal lobby groups even though he has very much been a work-hard-to-achieve-nothing man.

And Peter could logically now ask. Are you all better off now than when I ran the show?

Friday, August 22, 2008

Wisdom by William J. H. Boetcker

~You cannot help the poor by destroying the rich.

~You cannot strengthen the weak by weakening the strong.

~You cannot bring about prosperity by discouraging thrift.

~You cannot lift the wage earner up by pulling the wage payer down.

~You cannot further the brotherhood of man by inciting class hatred.

~You cannot build character and courage by taking away men's initiative and independence.

~You cannot help men permanently by doing for them, what they could and should do for themselves.

William J. H. Boetcker (1873 – 1962)

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Mid- week message board

Welcome to the mid-week message board!

A new initiative where YOU the reader, can make comments on whatever topic aspect of Liberal Party matters you choose and/or takes your fancy.

You can provide a name or remain anonymous it does not matter, the only rules are:

(i) No course language

(ii) Keep the discussion civil

Personal freedom under fire

Australia does not need thought police, urges Mitch Fifield.

"If the road to hell is paved with good intentions, human rights bureaucrats have been laying down the bitumen. This could be the case in Victoria if Premier John Brumby accepts recommendations to fortify the powers of the Equal Opportunity and Human Rights Commission. These proposals come from former state public advocate Julian Gardner, who was commissioned by the state Labor Government to review Victoria's Equal Opportunity Act."

Read the whole article here

Under a key proposal put forward by the former public advocate, Julian Gardner, the onus of proof in is transferred from the person who was hindered and complained to the organisation alleged to have discriminatory practices, the latter having to prove that a discriminatory practice or policy was "reasonable.” I can see some nervous heads about this … almost raises some classic philosophical questions; Orwell still matters.

Mitch Fifield is a Liberal Senator from Victoria

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

In Defence of Market Forces

The lumbering processes of Government will never anticipate the decisions of global corporations facing their own competitive challenges.

"The global economy of the 21st century is an unforgiving arena, where product life cycles are shorter than ever, where what was new yesterday is old today - and where what was old yesterday can come up sparkling today. Few better snapshots of this unsettling phenomenon could be provided than the tidings in today's Australian Financial Review. BHP Billiton was dismissed as "old economy" in the 1990s as commodity prices plumbed historic lows, multibillion-dollar investments came unstuck, management, board seemed adrift, and so called dot com companies were all the rage. Yesterday, the company announced a $US15.4 billion ($17.8 billion) net profit - the largest in Australian history … As the Rudd Government prepares to pour money into Australia’s over protected car industry, and probably the textiles and clothing industries too, it is timely to reflect on what this means. The ability of Governments to determine the course of national industries via “industry plans” and “transitional assistance” (a much loved phrase within Rudd policy papers) is weaker now than it ever was. The lumbering processes of Government will never anticipate the decisions of global corporations facing their own competitive challenges. Far better to ensure the workforce and business environment is as competitive as it can be and let market forces decide which firms, industries, products, and services will survive and prosper."

Representing the sum and substance of an editorial piece as it appeared in today’s fin review, “A game too fast for government.”


Today, more than ever before, domestic policy is subject to the discipline of market forces that no one controls, moreover where governments do exercise forms of rule it only serves to distort and hinder economies in the global context. Reality is, in terms of domestic policy measures including protectionism governments are increasingly becoming redundant.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Liberal Senator Cory Bernardi's new site

"South Australian Liberal Senator Cory Bernardi recently launched his new personal website and it could prove to be an interesting resource for Australian conservatives. Senator Bernardi is the Shadow Parliamentary Secretary for Family and Community Services."

(Via The Australian Conservative)

The writings and op-ed pieces listed under the categories label are well worth a look at.

A former member of the Australian Men's Rowing team, Cory Bernardi was sworn in as a Senator for South Australia in May 2006 and in December 2007 he became the Shadow Parliamentary Secretary for Families and Community Services with responsibility for Disability Services.

His site can be viewed here

Monday, August 11, 2008

Ruddspeak and the Bountiful Efficiencies of Unmeaning : If only for a laugh...

Economics = "Conservative Economics"

Union = "Representatives of Working Families"

Excluded are, Emissions Trading Scheme = "Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme"

And where was Penelope Wong as in, "The Federal Minister for Conservative Economic Destruction"


Friday, August 08, 2008

Liberal Party needs to change focus

Now over 8 months since labor went from opposition to Government still, the focus remains essentially on the Liberal opposition rather than on the Labor Government.

Let us be clear on something, Brendan Nelson will remain the Liberal Leader until Costello steps up or in the event that he does not, Malcolm Turnbull or someone else does.

In the interim, the government is being provided with a largely trouble-free ride to implement policies without appropriate opposition scrutiny while feeding the electorate an unwelcome does of expensive and illusory nonsense like the creation of an Asian Union, the securing of an Australian seat at the U.N. Security Council, and ridding the world of nukes.

The Murray Darling solution is not doing anything to improve the Murrays health.

The means testing for the Solar Power Rebate is crippling an important and vital industry.

The increase in the Medicare threshold for singles and families will see an exodus from the private system to an already strained public system.

Kevin Rudd’s 10 new National Employment standards (NES) which shall form part of the governments new IR system due by, Jan 1, 2010, mentions the term “reasonable” and “unreasonable” so many times that, "Businesses will have to engage a lawyer to help them work out what is reasonable or unreasonable in dozens of circumstances," says Julie Bishop.

Meanwhile the Federal Minister for Economic Destruction i.e. Penny Wong, is pushing ahead to implement her flawed Emissions Trading Scheme (now sold to us as the, morally stirring Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme) which will do zip to address climate change whilst stifling industries and driving up prices. It’s time the debate switches its focus on the negative impact a carbon-constrained economy will have on ordinary Australians...

FuelWatch and GroceryWatch will not address rising prices but only serve as another source of information for consumers at a huge cost to taxpayers.

Let us put the focus on Government, its love of symbolism and glossy rhetoric, tokenistic gesturing and impressionistic, light in substance policy making shall we; a Government whose decisions are quickly sullying what was once a thriving world envied economy.

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Telstra hang up on Unions

THE country's biggest user of AWAs says it will bypass unions when the controversial individual contracts are scrapped. Telstra today said it would deal directly with employees in negotiations for a new workplace agreement. more >>

As I wrote on July 20, “is there anything inherently wrong and/or immoral for a company to negotiate directly with its employees?

Raises questions about the links between progressiveness and objectivism; individuals ought to be ends in the themselves, with all rights being the rights of individuals to freedom. Workplace democracy such that unions are chosen by majority vote, and where the latter have the power to control the terms of the workers entitlements regardless of individual consent in reality betrays its own, - progressives - values whereby the individual seeks improvements to the his/her quality of life.

Otherwise said, Progressives in some ways embrace their opposites, the advocates of objectivism - those who also value progress, justice, economic freedoms, rational diversity, and individual rights.

Bear in mind, objectivism rejects all forms of statism, together with state ownership of business, state labor regulation, and regulation of business activity. Accordingly "Progressives" say they are for "labor rights," however, they do not favor the individual right to choose where one works and contract for terms of service and payment, which is what Objectivism encourages.

This goes to the heart of a complex intellectual philosophical debate that sometimes sees progressives sound like conservatives and vice versa. When its all said and done it can be considered neither and we are left with the vision of free and unchained minds hence, reason, egoism, capitalism - objectivism.

"Rather than being castigated Telstra should be applauded for showing some grit in an otherwise adverse political environment”, perhaps Ayn Rand was right, we do need a “civil liberties union for big business”.

See also :

IR's Rearward Drive

Sunday, August 03, 2008

R.E.D. = Rudd Economic Downturn

Mark Henderson, contributing editor at The Australian Conservative "kicks off the RED list with 15 examples ... "

  • Petrol prices are at near-record levels.
  • World trade talks have collapsed.
  • Inflation is forecast to hit 3.75 per cent, well above the RBA’s target range of two to three per cent.
  • The Current Account Deficit has widened.
  • The number of working days lost to industrial disputes has increased from 24,400 in the quarter to December 1 2008 (the last quarter of the Howard Government) to 42,800 in the March 2008 quarter (the first quarter under Rudd Labor).
  • Job advertisements have fallen for two months running.

Read the other nine (9) examples here

(Via The Australian Conservative)

The announcement of Labor policies during the electoral campaign by Kevin Rudd revealed that his would be a government of tokenistic gestures and impressionistic policies without substance. The holy trinity of his major policies, Climate Change, Workplace Relations, Education Revolution and the Cost of Living will turn out to be nothing but inexpedient promises he made to the electorate, heavy in symbolism and light in substance. And with that, we witness the R.E.D.


Saturday, August 02, 2008

Olympics Ideals appear as tenuous as China

It will not be long before 433 Australian athletes make there way to China for the 2008 Olympic Games. With this in mind, Victorian Liberal Senator Mitch Fifield recently outlined his hopes not merely for the athletes but for the Chinese peoples.

“In recent days, Australian athletes have been leaving our shores to compete at the Beijing Olympics. They will have a tough slog ahead of them, striving against world-class athletes in world-class facilities, but also battling the danger of pollution and unexpected sporting hazards … They will also have to ask themselves some deep questions about the nature of the host of the games, the Communist party of China."

Senator Fifield also cites some of the internal population divisions within China, and the challenges these bring to the communist regime, he concludes:

“But I hope that the Chinese people will be able to take something extra from the games – I hope they have a chance to met and talk with some of their guests and learn something about freedom and about democracy - about those things that the Chinese Government does not allow. Such an achievement would be worth its weight in medals.”

I outlined my own reservations about China and the games back in May at the American Interests site through an initiative organized by the group in association with Amnesty international. Attention was paid to China’s poor human rights record in the lead up to the games particularly in relation to the agreement with had with the IOC.

Irrespective of race, nationality, or membership of any particular social or political group, all humans are entitled to basic legal and moral rights as recognized by international laws. When the IOC awarded China the 2008 Olympics, it did so on the condition that it seeks to improve its Human Rights record. What gave the IOC the belief that the Chinese would change is beyond comprehension. China has a pitiful record and the IOC’s decision acts to reinforce and condone this highly negative conduct. I guess the IOC was never one to possess great foresight as it did award the games to Berlin in ’36. Nor has the sports body any regard for perpetuating the virtues of civilized nationhood. It was sympathetic to communism by awarding the 1980 games to the then Soviet Union.

As reported widely, China promised to improve their Human Rights record well advance of the Beijing 2008 Summer Olympics. Since then we have seen a recent and violent crackdown of peaceful dissension in Tibet and other human rights activists and there has been little if any change to policy with respect to previously documented abuses; a mistreatment that remains systematic and widespread. Any dissenting opinions are promptly suppressed, arbitrary detention, torture and ill-treatment of prisoners, severe restrictions on freedom of expression and association and violations specific to women, continues unabated. Government and political control over its legal systems ensures a continued lack of accountability consequently, abuses go unchecked. According to Amnesty, China currently holds the record for the largest number of imprisoned journalists and cyber-dissidents. One of the most prominent stories includes journalist Shi Tao, who is serving a 10-year sentence in a Chinese prison for sending an email!

Moreover, if the IOC had teeth the Chinese would not have gone back on there promise to “allow free internet access to journalists covering the Beijing Olympics.”

Writes Jack the Insider in the Australian:

“The Chinese Government, which sponsors virtually every ugly regime in the world from Umar Hassan Ahmad al-Bashir’s Sudan, to Kim Jong-il’s PDRK, has discovered that conning a bunch of bloated jet-setters with swollen senses of self-entitlement is a walk in the park. And so journos have turned up in Beijing to discover their emails aren’t getting through and bourgeois enemies of the state like the BBC and Germany’s national broadcaster, Deutsche Welle, have been put on the banned list. Other dangerous counter revolutionary websites like the Hong Kong-based Apple Daily and Liberty Time from Taiwan have been dispatched to the ether." Read the whole article here

So much for the guarantees given to the IOC about human rights back when the 2008 games were awarded. Where is the condemnation from sports bodies and the International Olympic Committee now that they are regressing on the agreement? Typical is not it, the deafening silence...

I find it perplexing that the following sentence graces the page of the International Olympic Committee’s Olympic home page:

“The Games have always brought people together in peace to respect universal moral principles.”

If the IOC were sincere about this, it would not have awarded the 2008 Olympics to Beijing. I call on the Chinese authorities to make good on their promises and uphold the legacy of the Games.

Contact Senator Mitch Fifield - Senator for Victoria