This whole ETS debacle isn’t exacly what parliamentary democracy is about. For a start, I cannot remember an occasion where an opposition “negotiated” with a sitting government on a bill. The job of the opposition is to hold the government to account in Parliament, not usurp the authority of Parliament by holding clandestine meetings in order to reach an “agreement” before a vote.
Now there are threats of disciplinary action against Liberals who don’t toe the party line on the ETS, which seems a thoroughly draconian measure.
Liberal Party federal president Alan Stockdale warned that his party had power to take action against MPs who damaged its brand.
Commenting on a recent call by former Liberal staffer Grahame Morris for the party to re-examine its endorsement of MPs who attacked the party, Mr Stockdale said he would not publicly canvass the issues of disloyalty and bad behaviour.
But he said: “People should be aware that at both state and federal level there are mechanisms for reviewing preselections where people take action that damages the party.
“There are a whole raft of stages of counselling and disciplinary issues that arise before preselection.”
Asked whether he believed any MP should face censure over the ETS issue, Mr Stockdale repeated his position that he would not discuss such issues in public, saying they should be handled between party officials and individual MPs. (source)
But at least Cory Bernardi isn’t threatened. Speaking on ABC News radio this morning he said that there was no way he would be voting for an ETS before Copenhagen (no link yet). A breath of fresh are in increasingly crazy times.
As Andrew Bolt puts it:
So may as well fight for what’s right, rather than what seems safe – since it’s better to lose just an election, rather than your dignity and principles, too. (source)