Australia’s ruling party faces annihilation

Dec 06, 2018

A FEW DAYS ago a respected member of the Liberal Party, which governs (if that is quite the word for it) in coalition with the smaller National Party, dropped a bombshell in Parliament: she was quitting the party to sit on the crossbenches as an independent. Julia Banks, the only Liberal to snatch a seat from the opposition Labor Party in the most recent general election in 2016, said she was sick of the direction her party was taking. “The Liberal Party has changed,” she said, because of a “reactionary right wing who talk about, and talk to, themselves rather than listening to the people”. As if in support, the women’s minister, Kelly O’Dwyer, said in a leaked discussion with colleagues that the party’s leaders were seen as “homophobic, anti-women, climate-change deniers”.

The Liberal Party has a problem. Not least, Ms Banks’s move to the crossbenches, which follows an earlier defection, leaves the government two votes short of...

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