The sensible centre & Liberal values

Overnight, the Prime Minister delivered the Disraeli lecture, a lecture established to honour the founder of the modern day Conservative Party in the United Kingdom, Benjamin Disraeli. While, like many, I was somewhat taken a-back by headlines in the media I took the time to read the Prime Minister’s speech.

Disappointingly, the hysterical media have decided to dishonestly spin the speech in such a way to inflame tensions. Let’s compare the reports to the delivery.

News report:

“The sensible centre was the place to be. It remains the place to be,” Mr Turnbull said in remarks likely to inflame the internal battle for ascendancy within the party between so-called moderates and conservatives.

Prime Minister’s Transcript:

“The sensible centre, to use Tony Abbott’s phrase, was the place to be and It remains the place to be now.”

I’m not sure how Prime Minister Turnbull quoting Prime Minister Abbott approvingly could be inflammatory. Indeed, Prime Minister Turnbull went on to say:

But a strong thread of principle, of value, connects our party to that of Menzies - one that combines both the liberal and conservative traditions - John Howard’s broad church.

From my point of view, the Liberal Party has always sought to occupy the sensible centre – that is true of Menzies, true of Howard and indeed of Abbott and Turnbull. The Liberal Party is and has always been a train running on small-l liberal and conservative tracks – unless both are tended to the whole train will derail. That’s why the Liberal Party is at its best when Liberal conservatives respect small-l liberals and vice-a-versa.

Now more than ever we must stick true to our values in the face of a more and more socialist Labor Party – a Labor Party that is seeking to back Palestine over a two-state solution, that supports Parliamentary elites over the people and that will increase taxes to almost 50% without any plan to pay down debt.

Just as Menzies and Howard stared down the socialist left by being strong advocates for centre-right ideals and principles – backed by middle Australia who share our belief in the aspirational and smaller government – we must stick to our principles.

About Eric

Eric Abetz has been a Liberal Senator for Tasmania since 1994 and has served in a range of Leadership, Ministerial and Shadow Ministerial roles.

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