At the launch of her campaign for the Eden-Monaro by-election, Liberal candidate Fiona Kotvojs was recorded as saying the following:
“I really believe in an old Chinese saying – give a man a fish and feed him for a day, teach him how to fish and feed him for life. That summarises what Liberal philosophy is all about.”1
Apart from the fact that there is no clear evidence that this originated as a Chinese proverb, a Navajo saying, from 12th century philosopher Maimonides or from anywhere else2, it certainly has been used often over the years.
However, for Fiona Kotvojs to maintain that this proverb is part of Liberal philosophy is simply ludicrous. Based on the history of malfeasance over the last seven years of coalition government3,4, the ‘Liberal philosophy’ in this situation would be either:
- to give the fishing contract to a multinational company operating large trawlers to overfish anywhere they wished, provided they made donations to the Liberal Party campaign funds; or
- to get a company (usually one of Angus Taylor’s) based in the Cayman Islands to apply for a government grant to fish around the coast at an exorbitant cost to the taxpayer, with no guarantee of providing fish to anyone.
That is the real Liberal Party philosophy.