The reign of John Howard from 1996 was characterised by very conservative social policies. It was also characterised by a revolving parade of spineless ministers and caucus members, who were only too happy to swallow their principles for a bit of longevity, limelight, power or extra pay.
Those same jellyfish are now a parade of revisionists, inflicting on us a range of excuses for not raising voice against the prevailing winds set up by Howard and his triumvirate kitchen cabinet (which included his wife and chief of staff).
The latest is George Brandis, who recently trotted out his excuses for inaction. Apparently, Brandis has a history of writing on tradition in the Liberal Party. He lays claim for the Liberals to be liberal - which allegation happens from time to time. And there are a few small L liberals who make a berth in the Liberal Party.
Yet in fact, the Liberal Party is exactly a repository for conservatives. There is simply no other party of opposition for them to be in - the Australian Labor Party is genuinely on the progressive side of the tweedledum-tweedledee that comprises Australian politics, and so conservatives naturally gravitate to the Liberals.
Granted, in this sense Australian politics is not as straightforward as, say, that in England or New Zealand, where the tories are cleary tories, and Labour clearly more left. So here, there's Labor and the rest, and if some liberals end up in the tory party, they are understandably overwhelmed. Hair-splitting aside, methinks Brandis cries poor mouth.