Bernardi’s Conservatives Will Only Work If Mass-Based

WITH Malcolm Turnbull moving the Liberal Party to the political dead centre there is, at face value, room for a conservative party; even so, reports Senator Cory Bernardi will leave the Liberals to create one must be treated warily. A new party will fail unless it eschews messiah cults and is mass-based: if Bernardi’s Conservatives are an abortion-fixated, gun-toting mob of xenophobic Cory acolytes, they will amount to no more than a protest front.

As a Liberal Party member for 26 years — save for a bit of a gap after moving to Melbourne almost 20 years ago — and an openly conservative one at that, I should be just the kind of person who should be embracing Cory Bernardi and his Australian Conservatives with open arms: politically literate, located squarely on the mainstream Right, unsupportive of Malcolm Turnbull’s leadership and frustrated in the extreme about the soft-moderate, progressive, namby-pamby allegedly “liberal” direction the party, at both state and federal levels, appears determined to pursue.

But reports in today’s press (see here the Murdoch or Fairfax version) that suggest the South Australian Senator will break with the Liberals next year to turn his “Australian Conservatives” into a new party make me wary and skeptical, not excited; I retain an open mind, of course, but this path has been traversed too many times before, and too many times — improperly executed — the resulting parties have become personality cults, a la the Palmer United Party, or incoherent pedlars of extremist fringe complaint politics, a la Pauline Hanson’s One Nation Party.

(And of course, there have been idiotic examples of the phenomenon that deservedly polled 57 votes nationwide, such as this one).

There is much that is wrong with the Liberal Party today, and with the government led by Malcolm Turnbull in particular; not only is it not conservative, but it is difficult to describe it as “liberal” too: either way, it stands for very little other than the turgid miasma of left-leaning mediocrity that is the inevitable, execrable by-product of a government gripped by the balls by risk-averse advisors that is utterly incapable of (or willing to) stand up to the onslaught of socialism and the big government, high tax, high spending, incentive-crippling agenda of its opponents.

When it comes to the purported breakaway party being schemed up by Bernardi, there is a hat-trick of names being bandied about: Eric Abetz, Kevin Andrews, and maverick Queensland MP George Christensen. Some, all or none of these gentlemen may or may not break bread with Bernardi’s putative party; whether they do or not, the three between them — plus Bernardi himself — advocate ultra-hardline positions on Muslim immigration, the prohibition of abortion and the complete liberalisation of gun laws.

Is this a mainstream conservative agenda? I think not.

It does, however, sound an awful lot like One Nation.

In fact, the insult of choice among Labor and Communist Greens types, when it comes to anything to the Right of Lenin and Stalin, is to label it “far Right,” or to talk of “RWNJs;” an agenda composed of those three issues is not mainstream at all, but it certainly qualifies as “far Right:” a label the rest of us are heartily sick of having to fend off for the rather dubious crime of simply refusing to kowtow to socialists and their agenda of political correctness.

I believe the Liberal Party has indeed lost the commitment of a large portion of what has traditionally been its base, and I know for a fact that on the conservative wing of the party (which also accounts for a majority of its rank and file members) there is great disillusionment with Malcolm Turnbull, his government, the performance of the Baird government in NSW, and the disparate condition in which the various state divisions of the party are gearing up to fight elections over the coming 18 months in Queensland, Western Australia, Tasmania, and South Australia.

(Over in the moderate faction, the feeling is that Turnbull is just wonderful, with Baird and his counterparts in most of the other states similarly primed for great success in their view: they don’t like Tim Nicholls in Queensland, and they can’t see that the quality of state MPs across the country, by and large, is abysmal — and this head-wedged-in-backside perspective is a clue as to why I have little time for moderate Liberals, much less their tepid, me-too approach to the ALP, and refuse now to vote for them at preselections under any circumstances).

But there are those who profess outrage over the dumping of former Prime Minister Tony Abbott — the “give us our elected PM back” brigade — whose degree of political insight and sense of the public mood is so defective as to prevent the realisation Abbott had, by his actions (or in the case of retaining Peta Credlin at the head of his office, lack of actions) rendered his own position terminal; that is in no way, shape or form an endorsement of Turnbull of any kind. But the issuance of political pronouncements in such idiot-simple terms is no less puerile than the taunts of being “far Right” and “RWNJs” that are levelled at them by the Left.

Does the fact Abbott was replaced (and by as unsuitable a candidate for the Prime Ministership as Turnbull) directly warrant the formation of a new party? I doubt it. In fact, there is no suggestion Abbott would defect to a new conservative party at all, let alone lead it.

That honour, it seems, belongs to Cory Bernardi — seated in the wrong chamber of Parliament for a start, if he is to ever amount to anything more than just the figurehead of just another Senate-based protest rabble which dwells in the upper house on account of its lack of adequate appeal to put a majority together anywhere.

And if Bernardi isn’t the chosen leader, then who?

The press reports today have noted mining baroness Gina Rinehart is on board with the project, meaning — like Clive Palmer’s Titanic-like eponymous party before it — Bernardi’s crowd won’t be wanting for cash.

But money isn’t everything in politics; just as those with the most of it often have the least political acumen of all (certain Western suburbs Brisbane Liberals take note), the parties who have the most of it don’t necessarily win (as the huge union war chest that bankrolled a losing ALP campaign this year is but one example).

At the risk of asking an indelicate question, precisely what does Bernardi intend his new conservative party will stand for? What will its policies be?

Will it advocate a sweeping round of tax reform — not the bullshit Turnbull tortured the country with earlier this year — involving a broadening and doubling of GST, steep cuts in PAYE and company taxes, the lifting of hundreds of thousands of taxpayers out of the PAYE system altogether, and the abolition of a raft of less efficient taxes, duties, and perhaps even the fuel excise?

Will it step up to the plate and argue cogently and persuasively for labour market reform — in the face of plummeting Australian productivity and international competitiveness — that could slash the unemployment rate and put a bomb under economic growth?

Would it — like Geoffrey Howe and Nigel Lawson in the UK in the 1980s — cut, deregulate and simplify, slashing red tape and abolishing overheads that affect businesses and private individuals alike, driving up costs and destroying incentive?

Will it finally make the case for putting an end to what one British MP termed “all this Greens bullshit,” abolishing renewable energy targets and subsidies to commercially unviable sources of ultra-expensive energy, in favour of an expanded coal-fired electricity sector that can provide inexhaustible power to Australian homes and businesses at some of the world’s lowest prices, as opposed to some of the world’s highest today?

Will it look at Health and Education, and make the case for genuine reform in each? I have privately floated a plan that I’ve called a “grand reform bargain” which (in crude terms) cedes Health to Labor and claims Education for conservatives: in very broad terms, it acknowledges Medicare can’t be unpicked, and nationalises primary care to form a UK-style National Health Service, with private clinics and hospitals still available for those who choose them after paying the Medicare levy; in return, it acknowledges the only reason for Labor’s alleged “superiority” in Education is that it throws money at teachers, whilst curriculums and the social engineering that increasingly passes as “education” generate falling standards and outcomes — and empowers individual schools to compete for teachers, set remuneration, develop their own curriculums, be governed by local school boards, with parents able to choose a school that best fits their child.

If not in these areas, then what bold reform ideas will Bernardi’s conservatives champion? After all, the notion that conservatives are completely opposed to change is a myth, and one peddled by Labor ruthlessly; to genuine conservatives, it’s the rate and type of change that is at issue, as opposed to change itself: and in this sense, a rich menu of potential options beckon. Reforming the Senate? Abolishing the states? A national infrastructure-building program to build dams, roads, schools, hospitals and railways?

Rather than flirting with spending billions of dollars on a transition to a republic — which might make a few people feel warm and fuzzy, but which would achieve exactly nothing of practical importance — what is Bernardi’s vision for a robust national identity and the restoration of pride in Australia, as opposed to the Labor/Greens practice of cringing over it?

What is the agenda of the Bernardi forces for robust national defences, and better and expanded relationships with traditional allies such as Britain and the US?

How does Bernardi reconcile the needs of rural conservatives with the agenda of their city counterparts?

In short, what exciting, integrated national vision for Australia would a breakaway conservative movement led by Bernardi actually offer?

I fear it will be nothing more than abortion, stopping Muslim immigration, and gun liberalisation.

And just on those issues, people are entitled to their opinions; the point is that those three things are not the platform of a party of government: they are the platform of a party of protest. And if the rest of the hard policy work hasn’t been done, Bernardi’s party — if it champions those, and little else — will go the same way the rest of the protest parties that have come and gone over the years have done.

The hard reality is that even if Bernardi simply walks out on the Liberal Party and takes a few of its less trustworthy MPs with him, the Turnbull government will fall sooner rather than later; on one level, what appears to be in prospect could simply install a Labor government in power — an outcome Bernardi, and anyone who backs him, will have to wear.

Bernardi claims to have “signed up” 50,000 supporters that could be used as the basis for this likely new party: I can definitively say that this is absolute rubbish.

I signed up when Bernardi launched the website for Australian Conservatives; not because I was “on board” but to keep an eye on what it was doing. Yes, I’m curious, but highly skeptical. I daresay that everyone — from other Liberals monitoring his activities, to enemies from the ALP and the Greens, and to everyone in between — has done the same thing. Just how many of those are rusted onto the cause is unknown, but I’d bet tens it’s a hell of a lot less than 50,000.

Readers know that I believe there is a willing and receptive constituency when it comes to a comprehensive mainstream conservative agenda; properly articulated, communicated and sold to voters, such an agenda would be an election-winning manifesto.

But running off half-cocked — especially with Trump-like slogans such as “Make Australia Great Again” — is a recipe for eventual disaster, but only after irretrievable damage is inflicted upon the Liberal Party, which at some point will be left to pick up the pieces and put them (and itself) back together again.

Based on the available information and what is already publicly known about this “Australian Conservatives” project, I remain to be convinced: and if a born conservative of the drive and passion of someone like me isn’t excited by what Bernardi appears to be contemplating, then I doubt he is pitching to much more than a very narrow audience indeed.

Maybe the best option is for genuinely conservative Liberals in the Liberal Party — not the left-straining moderates, nor those who might accurately be termed “far Right” — to be more assertive about what they stand for, and to fix what remains a great political organisation whose cardinal sin has been to stray from its core beliefs, and which is fast losing both members and supporters as a consequence.


A Breakaway Conservative Party? Perhaps, But Questions Abound

WITH THE ELECTION result remaining unclear, much of the political discussion yesterday turned to the initiative of controversial Liberal Senator Cory Bernardi to start a group — the Australian Conservatives — to “unite Australian conservatives;” the initiative, supposedly able to exist inside the Liberal Party, may have merit, but questions regarding its breadth, depth, policy objectives and personnel are all concerns that must be resolved.

We have only ever discussed controversial conservative Liberal Party Senator Cory Bernardi twice in this column; once, four years ago, when I ripped into him over comments about gay marriage leading to sex and marriage with horses and goats and so forth, and once last year, in the aftermath of the majority decision of the US Supreme Court to legalise gay marriage and following the publication of an essay (which can also be accessed through that link) in a respected political journal advocating “group marriage” (and God only knows what else at some later juncture), in which I published an unsolicited retraction of my attack on Bernardi, and an apology. He had been proven right.

I begin my remarks thus this morning because Bernardi has emerged — having correctly described the Liberal Party’s federal election campaign as “a disaster” — as the latest individual to the Right of Australian politics to set forth on some kind of adventure in creating a new conservative party; the objective is nothing new, and all too often has seen narrow, personality-based, cult-like organisations spring up that are nothing more than complaint amplification devices, vehicles for the indulgence of personal megalomania, or both.

Too often, they gravitate toward agendas based on guns and the wholesale vilification of Muslims, and whilst responsible gun ownership and the insidious rise of radical Islam are matters that concern genuine conservatives, they do not of themselves constitute an agenda for a mainstream party, or anything remotely approaching it.

Whilst the Liberal Party received votes from me in both Houses on Saturday, for the first time in my life (and this was my 10th federal election as a voter) it did not receive them by way of a primary vote; under its present leadership, the Liberal Party has come to project an image resembling an encounter group that would interact pleasantly with the Labor Right, or even some elements within the Greens, and this latte-swilling, inner-city focus on people totally into themselves simply because of who they are and where they live is a culture with which I have no truck: and the campaign which may yet cost the Coalition government was notable only for its excited screeching of empty messages that would appeal to such a trendy, with-it funky bunch. It was an exciting time, all right. The name of Tony Blair also comes involuntarily to mind.

Yet in the end, and certainly in the lower house where any vote in my local seat was ultimately a choice between the Liberal Party and Labor, the Liberals still offered the lesser of two evils; but others — those uninterested in seeing the party recover and prosper, or those who couldn’t really care less, or those who think the Liberals should be taught a lesson and who instead voted Labor to try to teach them one — deserted the Coalition in droves, balancing it finely upon the precipice of defeat as a result.

I don’t think there is any problem in having a conservative forum within the Liberal Party as a starting point; after all, the party is home to other sub-groupings based on business, women, young people, regional centres and so forth, and bringing like-minded people together within the famed “broad tent” is no bad thing: contrary to the view it can erect barriers between different elements within the party, I actually think it can break them down, as the like-minded network with each other, and people in each of the sub-groups network into other sub-groups with the effect that new and deeper connections between them can be forged.

Bernardi has set up a website for people to “register interest” in his Australian Conservatives; out of interest, I’ve registered: and a little disconcertingly, the first thing I received from it was an email thanking me for “joining.” We will see what is forthcoming as the days and weeks pass, and I will share this information with readers as it becomes available, but I haven’t “joined” anything, and the presumption I have is perhaps a sign that the Australian Conservatives are something other than what they say they are.

But it takes little insight to realise the end destination of this exercise — an attempt to form a new conservative party — and in that sense, Bernardi has some questions to answer.

A check of the website requesting registrations stated that Australian Conservatives was “an initiative of the Conservative Leadership Foundation;” a quick search revealed (surprise, surprise) that the Conservative Leadership Foundation is headed by “Chairman and Founder” Cory Bernardi, and the uneasy feeling that this might be another Clive Palmer/Jacqui Lambie/Pauline Hanson enterprise was heightened by the fact the “Conservative Shop” (accessible through another tab on the CLF website) is selling five books authored by Cory Bernardi in addition to a “Hardcore Conservative” T-Shirt range.

Readers know I have little time for the cult of personality, and it is perhaps poetic to report back today on a nauseating flower whom we noted last year was attempting to shanghai the noble principles of conservatism to legitimise an undeserving, personality-based bid for the Senate, which — in a happy takeout from Saturday’s election — received the sum total of 57 Senate votes out of more than three million cast in NSW, which is at least 56 more than it deserved.

Yet in that piece, I also set out many of the preconditions it failed to address for the establishment not just of a new conservative party, but of any new party at all.

As I opined at the time:

“Any new, mass-based party — conservative or otherwise — would need to spring from multiple figureheads spanning a raft of prominent roles in business, politics, commerce, industry, and other spheres like the armed forces and interest groups like pensioners…there is an agenda a conservative party — a proper conservative party — could easily win mass backing for: one fashioned around opportunity and reward for effort; built on the family, the business community, strong national defences and a sense of national identity; looking after the vulnerable, whilst rewarding the entrepreneurial; and modernising the entire outdated structure of the pillars of the so-called “Australian settlement” that still see unions controlling whatever they like in this country, despite less than one in six Australians belonging to a union, and which see anyone who wants to sit on their arses doing nothing protected by the populist outrage of anyone with a political point to gain from letting them do so.”

And as I also pointed out, I’m not closed to the idea of a Conservative Party of Australia, but there is an awful lot it would have to do and get right in the formative stages that no new party, to my mind, has managed and/or even bothered to do and get right since Bob Menzies founded the Liberal Party in 1944.

Bernardi is right to note that 1.7 million Australians cast their votes for “right-of-centre or conservative parties rather than the Liberal Party” on Saturday, and probably at least substantially right to suggest a large number of these people were disaffected Liberal voters who simply felt unable, for whatever reason or reasons, to support their party this time.

But caution is also required, for that 1.7 million also includes those who voted for blatantly and unapologetically racist outfits like the Australian Liberty Alliance, and divisive troublemakers like Pauline Hanson with her One Nation party, who (and this is an old story) is just great at whipping up a furore around race-based problems, but never advocates anything rational or substantial as a solution to them: it’s just stir the punters up into a frenzy, grab their votes (and the election funding they yield), and skip off somewhere else to make more noise.

Neither of these entities could be called “conservative:” they are bastions of the far Right, and there is a distinction between mainstream conservatism and the lunatic fringe that must be drawn — just like there is a difference between the mainstream social democrats of the Left and their insidious brethren at its ultra-socialist, ultra-statist extreme.

Disturbingly, though, the “comments” section of Bernardi’s call to arms on his personal website shows an awful lot of interest from people openly identifying with the ALA, nutcase religious fringe outfit the Rise Up! Australia Party, and One Nation: and as soon as you build these types of far-Right influences into a political party, it can hardly be characterised as “mainstream.”

On the other hand, were current conservative Liberal voters to be coalesced into a single organisation with those from the National Party, Family First, the Shooters and Fishers party, perhaps the Liberal Democrats, and maybe some of the more reasonable Christian Democrat-style parties floating around the place, then a solid base from which to advocate proper conservative policies might be assembled.

It would have to be mass-based; none of the personality bullshit that every lunchtime legend seems to think Australians are desperate for a slice of.

It would have to be truly democratic; no management committees to rule by decree, or state executive-type delegates to turn up to every preselection to overturn the wishes of local members in favour of predetermined outcomes; some degree of veto is always mandatory of course, as the slew of candidates who slipped through vetting processes on both sides of the political divide showed repeatedly during the election campaign that has just concluded. But the criteria for vetoing candidates would have to be codified, and things like “pissed off such-and-such an MP x years ago” or “doesn’t belong to the right bunch of mates” simply wouldn’t cut it, and existing parties which engage in some or all of this behaviour should contemplate their actions when next the issue of permanently declining membership numbers comes up.

It would have to develop policies that cater to both urban and regional conservatives; there is no point in a new party that caters to one to the exclusion of the other, and such a suite of policies would probably take the form of a series of separate measures targeted to each constituency that are complementary rather than contradictory. But good luck getting the balance right.

And whilst small government, low tax, personal responsibility, incentive for effort, reward for success and an emphasis on family and traditional values — coupled with strong national defences, strong national identity, and a strong safety net for those genuinely in need of it — are all bedrock principles of mainstream conservative governance, great care would need to be taken to ensure the agenda of any new conservative party isn’t hijacked by the “string ’em up” anti-Muslim brigade, or by others whose voices are much further to the Right of an orthodox policy platform.

I don’t know how Bernardi proposes to reconcile and resolve these problems; it is heartening to see he is casting the net to form a movement rather than a party as a first step, and apparently sounding out significant figures of conservative inclination as to whether they might be involved.

But at some point, it seems inevitable that the bullet will have to be bitten: as I said earlier, it takes little imagination to see that what Bernardi is doing is taking the first, very tentative steps to form a new conservative party (or at least to try to facilitate the formation of one by mass participation), and it’s an endeavour I will most certainly be monitoring, if nothing else.

It is a process that is far from straightforward, and throws up far more questions than Bernardi has to date volunteered any answers to. At some point I may attempt to contact him to discuss his intentions, and if I do — subject to any strictures around confidentiality upon which he might insist — I will share this with readers as well.

But I am most interested in feedback from readers: what do you think? Is there a place for a new, mass-based conservative party in Australia? What do you think it should incorporate in its platform, and who should it — and shouldn’t it — open its doors to? Or do you think, as many do, that the Liberal Party, imperfect as it is, still represents the best ongoing vehicle for the advancement of conservatism in Australia?

As we ever do, we will wait and see, but I encourage all conservatively minded readers to share their views in the comment section today; the typical comment rate for this site is 1-2% of all readers, and this totemic issue presents one occasion when the views of all — if they describe themselves as conservative, or find they align with the values I have outlined here as conservative values — really should be shared, debated, and given further thought.


Imbeciles, Cretinism, And New “Conservative Parties”

THERE ARE SOME who seem to have decided — both before and after the event — that the political demise of Tony Abbott has left a yawning chasm in conservative politics that only they can fill personally; far from a yawning chasm, these types could do the country a favour by stumbling across an abyss in the Antarctic ice cap and falling right in. Australia needs power-crazed legends in their own minds like it collectively needs a hole in the head.

I’m really sorry, readers, that I have missed most of the week; life in my world is uber-busy right now, and unfortunately this column isn’t the only thing that has suffered from a lack of the attention I might otherwise have paid it.

And I owe a further apology; thanks to a cretinous imbecile with messianic delusions of a salvation he seems to believe he will render upon conservative politics in Australia, some issues we’ve missed through the week — the need to send a message to Peta Credlin, for example, that she should simply shut up and go away, or the praiseworthy early salvo fired by new Special Minister of State Mal Brough on the fraught issue of Senate reform, screamed down by the useless and support-free Senators with everything to lose if their sinecures are abolished — are going to have to wait at least another day.

It isn’t very often this column singles out an individual to tear to shreds beyond the confines of the mainstream national debate and/or without a solid public record to calibrate the attack against, but tonight I am going to do just that; in a political era so heavily shaped by social media, ignoring potential threats to the stability of the national polity is so much easier with a block button, or the option to ignore a request, and whilst I intend to take aim at some of the usual suspects tonight, one encounter this week (and the subsequent digital footprints of the individual in question) has galvanised me to publish on this subject at the first opportunity that presented itself.

There are people floating around, supposedly from the conservative Right — Clive Palmer, Jacqui Lambie, Glenn Lazarus, and others — who decided, for various reasons and at various times, that mainstream conservatism in Australia left everything to be desired even when the supposed “far Right” leadership of Tony Abbott persisted within the Liberal Party.

And of course, Abbott’s demise a fortnight ago seems to have rang out as a clarion call to self-important nutcases possessed of excessively well-established senses of their own significance as a call to arms: just as those who “knew” conservatism in Australia was fatally compromised during Abbott’s tenure at the helm of the Liberal Party were inspired to try to destroy it before the event, others now present with arrogantly and dangerously delusional claims to fill a “void” that has been created on account of the political downfall of the member for Warringah.

I want to tell readers of this column who come here for reasoned and nuanced comment on the political affairs of the day about a particularly insidious specimen who is apparently using Twitter to force himself upon the political arena, and to recommend that he be shut out of any and all conceivable avenues for mainstream acceptance in Australia’s political discourse.

But first of all, let’s be honest: if you’re on the mainstream Right in Australia and even if you’re prepared (like me) to at least give Malcolm Turnbull an honest chance to either get it right or to make the mistakes we’ve warned about for years, the best anyone can say of him is that expectations are low, and — despite a couple of promising early signs — anything his moderate-dominated Liberal government gets right will in fact be a pleasant surprise.

Let’s be honest, too, that those of us who thought a brilliant, affable knockabout almost perfectly embodied our thoughts and values was a total failure; the Abbott government was a disaster, and not because Tony Abbott was the leader of it, but because he abrogated his responsibilities and his authority to a useless unelected hack who was political poison — and little better, in the big scheme of things and on the big stage, than a rank amateur.

But this doesn’t justify the feeding frenzy that has been going on since Turnbull ambushed Abbott in a snap coup two weeks ago; it seems everyone has decided it’s their moment of triumph — and smelt an opportunity they think exists — to ooze out of the festering woodwork of greasy political machinations and stake their claim as the “true heirs” to the conservative mission in this country.

There are two accounts on Twitter, both run by the same person, and I strongly recommend readers unfollow them if they have inadvertently followed either, and to block both without a shred of compunction or any sense they might be missing out on something. They won’t be. Even for amusement value on the “what an idiot” spectrum, this bloke falls woefully short.

Peter Wallace — the self-proclaimed “leader” of the “Australian Conservative Party” (sic) — is a menace to the mainstream political Right in Australia who probably makes the likes of Pauline Hanson look great; at least Pauline (who I know, and even if I utterly disagree with her) has the decency to try to connect with people she encounters, however limited she might be where sophisticated concepts and her very simple but honest personality are concerned.

I have had, over the past seven or eight weeks, no fewer than ten “follows” and “unfollows” from Wallace (whose Twitter account, incidentally, can be found @PeterWallace_1) and to be honest, were it not for the irritation of Twitter’s perennial email notifications, I mightn’t have even bothered to pay him any attention: there is nothing impressive about this self-styled party “leader,” and I would be interested to know if others have found this bloke following and unfollowing them every few days to attract their attention.

Those who go looking for Wallace at the Twitter handle I mention will find he’s shut his diatribes away behind a Twitter account lock; however, if you go to the so-called Australian Conservative Party (@ConservativeAU) you will find that since 24 September, or last Thursday — and only since 24 September — roughly half the tweets this “conservative party” has excreted are in fact retweets from a different “Peter Wallace” account, this time @PeterWallaceAU.

I’m publishing this article at 11pm on Sunday night, on 28 September; last Saturday night — sick of being pestered by Wallace’s ADHD-driven follow/unfollow antics — I had an exchange with him on Twitter, and I regret not getting a screen capture of the conversation.

Held to account over his trolling, he told me “it’s all about me” and whenever I asked him for information about his party — masquerading as a non-hostile fellow traveller who was merely a bit peeved at what he was doing to try to attract attention — he told me he was accruing online support “for obvious reasons” and that there would be another phase in the near future.

The Peter Wallace Twitter account now hidden behind a lock claimed his party would be launched in 2016 with the objective of winning a Senate seat — just like any other moron with no public support and utterly unwilling and/or incapable of going out and putting together 50% of the vote somewhere — even if, admittedly, on someone else’s preferences.

His “Australian Conservative Party” account, however — perhaps thanks to something I said to him — simply states the party will launch in 2016 and contest “the federal election,” with no specific mention of the senate, and my advice to readers who have come to know and trust my counsel as serious, well-calibrated and rational, is to dismiss the “Australian Conservative Party” from consideration completely, and to preference it (if it ever appears on a ballot paper) just above the ALP and the Communist Party Greens.

As far as I can ascertain, this “Australian Conservative Party” isn’t registered as a political party under relevant Commonwealth electoral laws, which raises the question of whether Mr Wallace may in fact be committing an offence by presenting a) the “Australian Conservative Party” as an actual political entity at all, or b) himself as its “leader.”

Then again, everyone thinks they’re the hottest thing since iced dog shit at some point, and no doubt Wallace is no different.

I had a Twitter conversation with Wallace last Saturday night, as I said, and thanks to the fact he has since chosen to lock his original account away (which makes me wonder what else he has been saying to people) his responses are no longer visible to the curious minds of the public.

But my questions to him are: I took a screen shot of those at least, earlier this evening, just in case he blocks me altogether once this article has been published.

Mr Wallace should be mindful of the fact that just as he can hide the responses away under a lock, they’re not invisible: and even if he chooses to delete them at some point, Twitter can and will reproduce them if ever subpoenaed.

So don’t bother with the lawsuit, Peter, you grub.

The date of these exchanges — with the currently visible @PeterWallaceAU tweets appearing on his “Australian Conservative Party” account less than four days later — are just a bit too convenient to be coincidental.

The world may well have changed to the point social media sits squarely in the middle of its political goings-on, but unfortunately for Wallace, the time when a mass-based, mainstream political party is ever assembled through Twitter is years away — if it ever arrives at all.

But like a lot of these “conservative” parties (and I say this with a peg on my nose) there’s a grain of intelligence to this one; it appears (through its Twitter feed) to be cognisant of the arguments for first past the post voting, for example, but follows that up with barely literate, semi-coherent populist rubbish by way of retweeting calls for a “$25 voting fee” and tweets left in the “Australian Conservative Party” Twitter feed reiterating the ambition to win Senate seats (read: the ability to wreck things with next to no real support) and tweets from @PeterWallace_01 that the dumbarse clearly didn’t have the foresight to understand that whilst he could hide one Twitter account under a lock, he couldn’t hide what he’d retweeted from it with another account that was in another name and…you get the idea.

Just like everyone else who says they’re the saviour of conservatism — but is really just a fuckwit — Peter Wallace has no idea what he is doing.

To my readers, I urge you to simply delete this idiot, and his noxious “party,” from your radar. This is as much a one-way ticket to nowhere as anything else bandied about by delusional imbeciles in recent years.

There is, to be sure, plenty of competition on this count.

Clive Palmer spoke of a “fair go” but really only wanted to destroy the Coalition because it didn’t do whatever he tried to order it to do; the LNP government in Queensland he wanted to kill is dead, the Coalition government in Canberra might or might not survive, and the Palmer United Party — a Stalinist personality cult if ever there was — is, thankfully, on its last legs.

Jacqui Lambie — perhaps the stupidest individual to ever be elected to an Australian Parliament — is only really interested in what Jacqui Lambie is angry about or what she thinks will win her votes; the Defence Forces she claims to speak for don’t want a bar of the disgraced Army truck driver, and her own son has pilloried her in public for making political capital out of his addiction to the drug ice.

Another renegade Palmer Senator — Glenn Lazarus — also seems infected with the personality cult of self; what reason anyone would have to vote for Lazarus is unclear, apart from glorying in long-dead football triumphs that hardly matter a jot to national governance.

And what point there really is to Family First or the modern reincarnation of the Democratic Labor Party  — aside from the playable fact of proportional representation — eludes logical perception.

It has long been an article of faith on the non-Labor side of Australian politics that “messiah figures” are required to galvanise voters and dominate their parties, but there are too many people floating around who think the precedent of Bob Menzies legitimises their tasteless and pointless ambitions.

They lose sight of the fact Menzies — when he formed the Liberal Party — was not only a former Prime Minister, but a former minister in a Victorian government, a colossus of the legal fraternity, and a respected figure in public life of more than 20 years’ standing, which is more than one can say of any of the would-be leaders of nominally conservative parties around at the moment, including Wallace.

Readers will know that I have signalled I’m not closed to the idea of a new, mass-based conservative party, but not something in the Palmer/Lambie/Lazarus/Wallace/Family First/DLP mould — or anything remotely approaching it.

Any new, mass-based party — conservative or otherwise — would need to spring from multiple figureheads spanning a raft of prominent roles in business, politics, commerce, industry, and other spheres like the armed forces and interest groups like pensioners.

There is an agenda a conservative party — a proper conservative party — could easily win mass backing for: one fashioned around opportunity and reward for effort; built on the family, the business community, strong national defences and a sense of national identity; looking after the vulnerable, whilst rewarding the entrepreneurial; and modernising the entire outdated structure of the pillars of the so-called “Australian settlement” that still see unions controlling whatever they like in this country, despite less than one in six Australians belonging to a union, and which see anyone who wants to sit on their arses doing nothing protected by the populist outrage of anyone with a political point to gain from letting them do so.

Just for the record, once I’ve published this article, I’m blocking Mr Peter Wallace and his various self-glorying accounts on Twitter, and I encourage all readers of this column to do the same thing, and to do everything possible to reward a half-arsed effort to grab a bit of power with the failure it deserves. Bugger him.

But in the absence of any truly conservative, mass-based party emerging — one built with a broad cross-section of actual public support, rather than one individual’s delusions, by a wide cross-section of genuine leaders from various sections of the Australian community — the Liberal Party, imperfect as it is (and a little more so this month than last) remains the best vehicle in Australia today for the furtherance and enactment of genuine conservative philosophy in government.

Australia needs false messiahs like a hole in the head: there is an argument that one such individual will shortly move into The Lodge. It does not need others.

It certainly doesn’t need the Lambies, Palmers or Lazaruses of this world: and it most certainly doesn’t need Mr Peter Wallace, Esq.

There are too many cretins and imbeciles around who think they are God — and whilst the system that elects the Senate is broken and must be fixed, the presence of idiots like this only brings politics in Australia into deeper disrepute, and drags conservatism into the muck when an authentic interpretation of it would cure Australia’s growing list of ills if ever properly implemented.

Tomorrow, time permitting, we’ll talk about something a bit more worthwhile.