One thing is certain this week since the release of the Pyne tapes by Andrew Bolt. That is that Christopher Pyne has been exposed as a fake conservative, as these tapes showed the mask ripped off. The tapes reveal Pyne gloating to what he thought was a gathering of ‘moderate’ (code word for left) Liberal supporters at their Black Hand event about their faction now being in the ascendency stating, “So we are actually doing pretty well, we moderates for you in Canberra’’ and ‘’We are in the winner’s circle, friends”.
What really caused the blow up in Liberal circle this week was Pyne’s hint that he and moderates would deliver ‘marriage equality’: “We’re going to get it. I think it might even be sooner than everyone thinks. And your friends in Canberra are working on that outcome”. What was especially telling was when Pyne said, “I’m in favour of marriage equality, I always have been”. Andrew Bolt has already exposed the times Christopher Pyne stated he was in favour of traditional marriage.
However, Pyne is not the only senior Turnbull Cabinet minister exposed in this tape. Attorney-General George Brandis was mentioned as well “And most of your senior cabinet ministers, George Brandis, Marise Payne, yours truly, quite a few of us are very senior ministers in a Turnbull government”.
Brandis is also another fake conservative who pretended to be in favour of traditional marriage, he told the ABC’s Lateline program in 2010 “we don’t think it’s a form of discrimination to recognise that historically, culturally and for most people in this country still, religiously, marriage is an institution uniquely between a man and a woman”. He also reaffirmed this view on Q&A in late 2010 as well.
Pyne and Brandis were some of Tony Abbott’s key attack dogs both in opposition and government. Pyne had been the Liberal Party’s House leader for all of Abbott’s period as leader, likewise Brandis had been Deputy Senate Leader during Abbott’s leadership. They were viewed as key to Abbott’s success. Brandis spearheaded the original commitment to repeal Section 18C and help defeat the Gillard Government’s overhaul of anti-discrimination laws.
Pyne had worked with Tony Abbott as his Parliamentary Secretary for Health during the Howard Government and had supported Abbott’s position that the abortion drug RU486 should not be allowed into Australia or that further embryonic stem steel research should not be permitted.
While both had the outward appearance of being conservative warriors the tapes revealed they were moderates (i.e. leftists) all along: ‘We voted for Malcolm Turnbull in every ballot he’s ever been in. In George’s case that’s in the 1960s’. This seemed at odds with what Brandis said in February 2015 at the time for the first Abbott leadership spill “we would be crazy to copy the chaos and dysfunction of the Labor years”.
But there were signs from time to time that Brandis and Pyne were moderates in disguise, biding their time to unleash their true selves. George Brandis once referred to John Howard in 2004 as a “lying rodent” with regard to the children overboard affair. Christopher Pyne defended the original Roz Ward version of the Safe Schools program in 2015 telling the ABC “I have children of my own and if they were being bullied at school, I’d want people to be able to get the support that they need”. Pyne has also been a lifelong supporter of the Australian Republican Movement.
Both Pyne and Brandis were Costello supporters during the Howard Years so it’s not like they have a track record of picking winning leaders. Christopher Pyne offered a (non) apology for his remarks last night “I apologise to anyone they have offended”. But the nation now knows where Pyne and Brandis stand. They are happy with the leftward drift of the Liberal Party and no longer have to be fake conservatives anymore. They have been caught dancing on the grave of their internal party enemies.
They may be winning inside the Liberal Party, but the Liberal Party itself is not winning, consistently behind in the polls including 14 Newspolls in a row. If this is Pyne and Brandis version of winning, what does losing look like? It is no wonder the Liberals are now reffered to as ‘Labor-lite’. One also wonders how many more fake conservatives lurk inside the Liberal party room just waiting to rip off the mask.
The internal conflict within Liberal Party following the release of these tapes don’t change the fact that the left are now in control of the Liberal Party. Maybe the Liberals do need to die and a proper conservative alternative needs to emerge. It now looks certain at the next election they are on the road to electoral oblivion if they continue on this path.