Well, the mainstream media is all agog at Senator Bernardi’s decision to quit the Liberal Party and start his own ‘Conservative’ group. The comments section of the Sydney Morning Herald article by Latika Bourke, 7 February, 2017 is very revealing because one can catch a glimpse of what some believe the Liberals – more than sixty years after being formed – now stand for. 'Alice in Wonderland" stuff. I am sure Alice will feel that she has now reached Wonderland!
· “If Cory Bernardi took the other backstabbing, Tea Party, fanatical Christians - Tony Abbott, Kevin Andrews, Eric Abetz, George Christensen, Scott Morrison, etc, with him, Turnbull would have a moderate small "l" Liberal party, without pandering to the rightwing extremists.”
· “The conservatives have too much power in the party. Menzies did not want it to be a conservative party.”
· “Turnbull is the sort of small-l liberal that the Liberal Party was always intended [to] have. That's what Menzies wanted. That's why he called it the Liberal Party and not the Conservative Party.”
Liberal Party Statement of Beliefs
I have in my possession a copy of the 1949 Liberal Party’s Statement of Liberal Beliefs - “WE BELIEVE”. My copy is a ninth reprint October 1964 edition.
All I can say is the original Liberal Party’s beliefs were based on what I would have thought ‘conservatives’ stood for. Let’s look at a few of the Statements of Belief:
3. WE BELIEVE IN THE INDIVIDUAL. We stand positively for the free man, his initiative, individuality, and acceptance of responsibility.
9. WE BELIEVE THAT THE "CLASS WAR" IS A FALSE WAR. The real conflict of our time is not between "classes" in the old sense, but between the iron discipline of autocracy—whether Communist or Fascist-and the self-imposed discipline of the free man. The spirit of man must prevail.
10. WE BELIEVE THAT LIBERALISM MEANS FLEXIBILITY AND PROGRESS. Its principles and its spiritual and intellectual approach enable it to meet and deal with new and changing social and economic circumstances. By elevating the individual it meets and defeats the terrible doctrine of the all-powerful State; a doctrine at once destructive, reactionary and negative.
12. WE BELIEVE THAT NATIONAL FINANCIAL AND ECONOMIC POWER AND POLICY ARE NOT TO BE DESIGNED TO CONTROL MEN'S LIVES, but to create a climate in which men may be enabled to work out their own salvation in their own way.
13. WE BELIEVE IN THE GREAT HUMAN FREEDOMS: to worship; to think; to speak; to choose; to be ambitious; to be independent; to be industrious; to acquire skill; to seek and earn reward.
THE ACHILLES HEEL OF THE CONSERVATIVE MOVEMENT
In 1968 Eric D. Butler wrote a brilliant paper on “The Achilles Heel of the Conservative Movement” which we take much pleasure in reprinting. Readers will be able to compare Senator Bernardi’s claims to ‘conservatism’ with what the word once meant. Whether it is Cori Bernardi or Pauline Hanson, or any other group claiming to speak for ‘traditional conservative Australia’, Eric’s paper will be of help to determine the truth or falsity of their claims.