Wednesday, February 16, 2011

That tirade against Joe Hockey at Menzies House

Menzies would not have been in Menzies House.

Yesterday the libertarian website published a tirade against Joe Hockey.

This morning it removed it, writing:

Here's the original. Mmmm...

An anonymous senior Liberal Party staffer writes on how Joe Hockey's position is no longer sustainable:

The most interesting development in the Liberal Party of the last fortnight has not been the “silent pause gaffe” by Tony Abbott when confronted by journalist Mark Riley. It is, in fact, Joe Hockey’s decision to undermine his Liberal colleague Scott Morrison, and contradict official party policy on the issue of taxpayer funds being used to ferry asylum seekers across the country. This is a day of remembrance of a tragedy, and we all feel great sympathy for those affected by the recent horrific events. Yet Hockey attempted to manipulate this and grandstand for his own personal advantage. And that is unacceptable. To take advantage of an event such as this to advance your own personal agenda is simply beyond the pale.

This is the demonstrated proof that Joe Hockey is completely ill-equipped to ever be a member of the leadership team of the Liberal Party. In fact, it is the last straw, after a string of gaffes and failures, and our parliamentary team is furious.

Joe Hockey has a teddy bear-like appearance and demeanour. He appealed to many viewers when he appeared on the Sunrise programme with Kevin Rudd. He no doubt enjoys a strong relationship with many journalists. To the average person in the street, Joe Hockey probably comes across as a likeable fellow.

I do not deny that people like Joe. After all, how could you not. Yet there is a big difference between being likable, and being leadership material (a lesson Kim Beazley learned well - and he was actually competent!)

Despite Joe Hockey's jockeying for the top job, however, the Liberal Party is truly fortunate to have had Tony Abbott elevated to the Leadership in the ballot of late-2009. A poll just a few days ago shows The Coalition leading Labor on the primary vote by 46 per cent to 32 - a far cry from when The Coalition was in the 20's under Malcolm Turnbull. Tony Abbott has turned the party around, achieved the impossible, and the vast majority of Coalition MP's thank him for it.

So, despite being touted as the popular choice by numerous two-bit internet polls, there can be no doubt that Hockey would have proven to be the one contender monstrously worse in the role (and not just worse than Malcolm – worse than Brendan Nelson, worse than Alexander Downer... possibly even worse than John Hewson).

Why? Because truth is, Joe Hockey is far more gaffe prone than anyone else on the front bench. Compiling a list of silly things he has said would prove an arduous task. This previous MH post does provide a list of utter failures of a policy nature - but it's only getting started. We also have his disgrace in the Tourism Portfolio (where he was demoted in utter humiliation), his failure in Finance... the list goes on. Suffice it to say: remember when Hockey couldn’t keep on message during the dying days of the 2007 federal election campaign, despite having been charged with one of the most important portfolios of the Government (and the campaign)? Leadership material? Give us a break.

If you seek certainties in this life, give Joe Hockey an important task to do and make sure there’s a camera crew present. The Liberal Party’s Press Office will be shuddering in front of the Sky news telecast. Because there can be no doubt that Hockey will stick his foot in his mouth. Again.

It’s now well past the point of being an amusing joke. We are the Party that gave Australia Peter Costello as our Treasurer. We pride outselves on our economic managment. To say to voters that we propose Joe Hockey be the next Liberal Treasurer is an incomprehensible fall from grace - and a stain on our reputation that will not easily be fixed.

There are countless advantages to a politician being jovial and likeable. However, from the point of view of an Opposition and the Party that values its economic credentials so highly, what is equally important is that the spotlight be shone constantly on the waste and mismanagement of an incompetent Labor Government. And Joe Hockey has consistently failed to do so. In seeking the spotlight for himself alone, he has failed to advance the position of The Coalition - and this has many backbench MP's running scared.

Given the ongoing issues that having Joe Hockey in such a vital portfolio presents, it has naturally meant that murmurings have begun within certain, key Liberal circles that with a new Parliamentary year should come a new Shadow Treasurer.

It is no secret that many Liberal MP's desire a new Shadow Treasurer who does not activly attack the Party line; Someone who does not seek personal attention at every waking turn; Someone who can stay true to Liberal values of small government when formulating policy.

We are beyond the point of backbencher despair - we are at the point of open revolt. While Shadow Cabinet can continue to put on a brave face, there can be no denying the panic that is spreading through the ranks as members view the destruction Hockey is causing. There can be no doubt that there needs to be a mechanism found quickly within the party to replace Hockey as Shadow Treasurer without resulting in a wider bloodbath [Ed: Give him Health?].

After all, we have a far safer pair of hands ready in Andrew Robb - an MP with a proven track record of competence, combined with a consistent history of supporting Liberal Party values and fighting for smaller government.

The replacement might be messy, but the public have come to expect something a lot better from the Liberal Party in such a vital area.

Enough is enough. The Joe Hockey circus must come to an end. The Australian people deserve more. The Liberal Party deserves more. Hockey must go - and soon.

This post was written by a Liberal Party staffer who requested their name not be revealed. Menzies House can confirm, however, that we have verified that the author does indeed work as a senior adviser for a member of the Shadow Ministry. Menzies House wishes to stress, however, that all contributions reflect only the views of their authors, and that we do not take any editorial position on such matters. We welcome submissions disagreeing with this post.

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