Morrison wants the protection of gay and lesbian students to be sent for review by 2023, but the Liberal group wants the issue addressed in this House so schools can not expel LGBTQI students.
This makes some of the conservatives in government furious, but the liberals need to think about their voters, not just their leader. Allen represents Higgins in Melbourne, Sharma represents Wentworth in eastern Sydney, Zimmerman represents North Sydney. They believe in equality for LGBTQI Australians. They also know how many of their constituents expect it.
The Liberal Party’s concerns about the bill on religious discrimination are so great that Morrison has chosen not to put the bill to a vote in the lower house next week. This is a rational decision. Some of the Liberals would probably cross the floor against the bill in its current form.
While Morrison believes in the bill with a passion, he has made a decision on cold logic rather than his personal beliefs. The bill can not be passed before the election. It will go to a poll over the summer, with a report to be submitted on 4 February, with Parliament returning on 8 February.
There will be a very short time for an agreement on religious freedom before the election campaign. After last week’s mess, Morrison may not want Parliament back at all. The chaos has moved some in favor of a race to the ballot box in March, though Treasurer Josh Frydenberg would probably prefer a budget in April and an election in May.
The same dynamic works on the other side of the coalition when conservatives revolt and appeal to voters in Queensland or the regions. But most of those who crossed the floor on vaccine mandates this week were in the Senate, as was Gerard Rennick of Queensland.
The lone Conservative who went rogue states in the lower house this week was National MP George Christensen, on a vote on class action lawsuits. He also backed civil disobedience on vaccine mandates, an irresponsible call when protests have become violent.
Morrison used a double standard by calling Archer to a meeting to give her an honest speech about her rebellion, but did not do the same with Christensen. The moderates usually get more heat when they say no.
He may end up thanking Archer one day. The left must hold Bass and there is a chance she can do it. The Liberals must also hold urban seats against the growing challenge of independent candidates campaigning on social issues and climate change. These promotions could play on Morrison’s declining popularity.
That means Morrison can win when liberals go rogue. Some of them can save him from himself.