I was at the polls all day yesterday, handing out how-to-votes for the local Liberal (ie conservative) candidate in Charlestown for the NSW state election. I must have had an effect (am I too modest?), because this seat is (was) so strongly Labor that the Liberals had never bothered to even run a candidate before, … and we won! Part of a massive state wide swing that has seen Labor almost wiped out. But the most heartening part of the night was when the Liberal leader (and new Premier) blew off the ABC’s top political reporter who came over wanting an interview. I’ve never seen that done before. The ABC is a miniature version of the BBC and the political section is full of left wing hacks; nevertheless politicians of all stripes seem to think it is necessary to take them seriously – I suppose because it’s the “National” broadcaster. Not any more, it would seem.

Let’s all give Brett a round of applause for singlehandedly turning the Charlestown, NSW, from a Labor (liberal) seat to a Liberal (conservative) one.

He also sends, by way of making us feel bad about our Democratic party, a letter from 2002 from the then Labor (liberal) leader to the now (likely) Labor (liberal) leader in NSW:

Dear John

Thank you for your recent letter introducing me to the Labor for Refugees campaign… Your correspondence repeatedly refers to social justice but at no stage does it seek to ground this concept in any kind of factual analysis. Anyone can claim to be principled and compassionate. But if these are nothing more than abstract concepts, removed from real-life circumstances, they are unlikely to have a tangible impact on people’s lives. They will lapse into the politics of symbolism. …

This is typical of the way in which the asylum seeker debate is conducted. Groups like Labor for Refugees are asking the Federal Caucus to turn a blind eye to illegal migration, in particular, the corrupt practices of people smugglers. You are asking us to replace the rule of law with an open door asylum seeker policy.

This is a betrayal of the traditional values of the Labor movement. The moment we start to condone illegal behaviour is the moment we will become just another Green or Democrat party – a symbolic movement sitting on the fringe of national politics, out-of-touch with the needs and concerns of working Australians…

The pervasiveness of the rights agenda has smothered the importance of social responsibility. Too many ALP activists are now willing to excuse or rationalise away bad behaviour, such as juvenile crime, welfare fraud and illegal migration. …

In my experience, the strongest supporters of the rights agenda are those who do not have to face the daily consequences of irresponsible behaviour. They have the resources to buy themselves away from social problems, to purchase private security, private education, private health insurance and private transport. This gives them the luxury of being able to talk about human rights without the need for social responsibility… Many of our traditional supporters are worried that Labor is now on the side of the no-hopers, rather than the responsible working class.

I strongly support an agenda of rights and responsibilities.

Granted, the now-leader is now the leader and the then-leader no longer is, but at least as recently as 2002 one liberal was willing to tell of another for having the political position of an ass.