In this episode: another resignation in the Liberal Party, and are there more to follow? And the cost blowout in the Inland Rail Project is yet another example of why Barnaby Joyce should leave politics.
After a short and sustained period of criticism about his role in the Liberal Party’s leadership ‘no’ vote for the Voice to Parliament. Julian Leeser has resigned from Shadow Cabinet and has now said that he will campaign for the ‘yes’ case. This will place more pressure on the leadership of Peter Dutton and add to the debate about the future of the Liberal Party.
But Leeser said he wants to make amendments to what has already been proposed in the referendum; he also didn’t end up repudiating any of Dutton’s claims that the Voice to Parliament will end up costing billions of dollars to implement and it will grind the government to a halt, so it’s difficult to discern – at this stage – what Leeser’s true motivations are.
When he became the leader of the Liberal Party, Dutton said his job after the 2022 federal election loss was “to unite the Liberal Party”, but with MPs resigning from Shadow Cabinet, former Liberal Party MPs resigning from the party, and backbenchers speaking out, it’s far from a united party and it’s a political mess that keeps being pulled down by internal conservative forces.
It was also revealed during the week that the cost of the Inland Rail Project has doubled within two years and has increased from $16 billion, up to $31 billion. The Inland Rail Project commenced in 2018 and is proposed to operate between Brisbane and Melbourne and was one of Barnaby Joyce’s pet projects when he was the deputy prime minister and the Minister for Infrastructure and Regional Development. There were also claims that he was trying to fasts-track this Inland Rail Project and change the path of the project so it would run closer to the land that he owns near Narrabri – 1,000 hectares of land, which no one in their right mind would buy unless they knew of a future government project that was in development. Where there’s corruption – or alleged corruption – Joyce is never too far behind, and his time in politics should be close to an end.
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