Recent disunity that has so damaged the coalition and its electoral chances has largely flowed from the rising influence of Barnaby Joyce. Barnaby Joyce has built a huge profile and national persona by contrasting himself against the team that comprises the coalition. He is a maverick and a show pony that has become the most disruptive force in federal politics in years. He will cost us the next federal election if not quickly dealt with, and should be disendoresed by the Nationals and left to become an independent, which he always should have been. He will never be a team player and he could never be trusted to uphold any agreement that he might be coerced into making in the interests of coalition unity. His personality, although we are all drawn to it because it personifies Australian rebelliousness and ratbaggery, will always be non-conforming and attention seeking. He is the antithesis of unity.
Malcolm Turnbull needs to sit down with Warren Truss and pressurize for Barnaby’s disendorsement before it gets any closer to the next election, this problem will not go away. Joyce will never toe the party line; it is not in him to do so. He is profoundly rebellious as a personality, although without really genuine policy differences; it is a trait of Joyce’s personality that he seeks this sort of attention. Failure by the Liberals to deal with this problem will have grave electoral consequences.
Alternatively one has to ask why we are in coalition in opposition, when I thought the advantage of two conservative parties was to be separate in opposition and united in government. This is to gain maximum peripheral conservative votes, otherwise why have two parties at all??
However if we are to be in coalition in opposition then it follows that we must show unity, because it has been proven time and time again that disunity is total electoral death. Also the leadership must comprise the key grouping in the shadow cabinet; otherwise you have a divided leadership. Therefore it follows that if Joyce is to be the Nationals Leader in the Senate then he must be in the shadow cabinet; it is unthinkable and clearly unworkable for him not to be. The reasons he gives publicly for refusing to be in the shadow cabinet are the very reasons why he needs to be there.
All coalition politicians, especially Barnaby Joyce, should remember that disunity is death.