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The Liberal Party’s new ‘narrow church of consensus’

John Howard often liked to describe the Liberal Party as a ‘broad church’. It is a wonderful piece of propaganda that he is rightly celebrated for. To him it was more honoured in the breach than in the observance, but it alluded to the wide range of beliefs compatible with Classical Liberalism. Likewise, its is a characterisation that says something for the tolerance of dissenting views within the scope of that political philosophy.

It has been over a decade since Mr Howard was ignominiously voted out of his parliamentary seat, and consequently out of office. During his tenure as Prime Minister the term ‘broad church’ was a fanciful guise for describing a loose form of factionalism. By being, or at least appearing to be, tolerant of a wide-range of views it is possible for a skillful political operator to diffuse tensions and pre-empt the formation of rigid factions within … Read the rest

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