Moira Deeming saga - John Pesutto - Party First

After yesterday’s result of his public move expel Moira Deeming, John Pesutto has almost been written off by many commentators on the Left and on the Right.

Not surprising, because they all perform as cheer squad of their own respective emperors extolling ‘his/her or their’ non-existent ‘new clothes’.

Following the ‘Let Women Speak’ event, when I saw the news of John Pesutto announcing he would be moving a motion to expel his own MP Moira Deeming, I only felt sorry for him.

“Why would his advisors do this to him?” was what I asked myself.

To me, that was a classic case of political adrenalin rush going in the wrong direction, led by symbolism and optics which seem to rule politics these days.

From the events that had unfolded, it was not possible for the advocates of the move John Pesutto made, to prove Moira Deeming’s guilt beyond reasonable doubt.

To be fair to Moira Deeming, only such conclusion could have warranted her expulsion.

Thus, despite the dossier, which lacked the ‘beyond reasonable doubt’ evidence in my opinion, Monday’s outcome of expulsion was always going to be hard to achieve for John Pesutto.

And as expected, the result was – well short of publicly announced expulsion.

Moira Deeming has been suspended from the parliamentary Liberal party for nine months and will no longer be the Opposition’s whip in the upper house.

In other words, a feast for political journos – who went in overdrive, many even suggesting the beginning of the end of John Pesutto.

“On Saturday new Opposition leader John Pesutto was depicted in the media as a sheriff who’d ridden in to clean up Liberal town,” Herald Sun’s Shannon Deery wrote in his column.

“On Monday, the sheriff may well have signed his own death warrant,” he added.

His view is that ‘second chances’ in politics are rare and ‘second chances in the Liberal Party’ are rarer he emphasized.

Given the current political health of the Liberal party, any move will be a collective political suicide which must be avoided at all costs.

Pesutto’s proposed ‘suspension’ of Moira Deeming has, in my view, avoided a certain downright division in the party, thus saving the party.

Also read: Should John Pesutto push on to expel Moira Deeming?

I hope some Liberal MPs rather than falling for the temptation of playing factional warlords, begin to ponder long and hard over the choice they need to make – to engage in party in-fighting, or engage and fight the government, ‘to keep the bastards honest’ to use an old Australian expression.

John Pesutto, in my view, put his party first, ahead of his personal ego, in suggesting the suspension option and has avoided an episode which could plunge the party in a vicious circle of factional wars.

He should be lauded for his decision and not attacked as many in the media have attempted to do.

Subjecting himself to face the ridicule and contempt of the media head honchos to keep the party united is the choice not many Liberal leaders would have made.

As far Moira Deeming, with her passion for (cis) women’s and girls’ rights, she offers hope to her constituents. She must do all she can to ensure a sensible, rational and intellectual debate takes place.

And she must do everything in her power to try and convince her Liberal party colleagues to look at those forgotten women and girls and their rights.

And Moira cannot do that if she is not in the team.

Thus, Moira Deeming should not squander the opportunity she has been given by her electorate and her party to at least make the effort to bring about that debate which is long overdue.

Thinking she can appear at events in her personal capacity to argue the case, may not be helpful, if not counterproductive.

Those women and girls Moira Deeming so passionately represents and cares about, would sincerely hope she does not end up being a political thought-bubble on the fringe of Victorian politics.

Now it is up to the Liberal party, famous for focusing on itself than the government, to take a deep breath, gather itself and get ready to hold the government to account.

If the numbers men in the party (read miscreants who put themselves ahead of the party) go into overdrive on this, the rumoured regime change (Daniel Andrews retiring in June handing over the baton to Jacinta Allen) may be a walk in the park for the Labor party with zero political turbulence with  a potential to deliver a smooth landing in 2026!

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