If you take conservatives literally, the left has weakened the country through its penchant for identity politics.
We are all Australians, lament the right's foghorns ad nauseam.
Vast column inches and endless broadcast hours are spent tediously lecturing voters about the moral perils of subdividing an otherwise harmonious society into competing identity groups - gay/straight, men/women, rich/poor, and so on.
It's the ABC's fault, usually.
At the ragged end, there's the eponymous Pauline Hanson's One Nation party, which in a shameless breach of its label, commits its modest intellectual resources into dismantling national harmony.
More worrying though, by virtue of its secretive coalition relationship, is the National Party. Again, the title suggests something unifying and enlarging, but here is an outfit so steeped in identity politics, it is drowning in it.
It calls itself the Nationals, but rails against the nation's urbanised majority.
The besieged and soon-to-be "ex" Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack frequently sandbagged his leadership by demonising "green-left" cosmopolitans for their metrosexual views, their support for the worthy declaration that black lives do matter, their questionable Australianness.
As the light faded, he told the House of Representatives last week that mice, currently in plague proportions, should be sent to the urban haunts of metropolitan nature-lovers.
"I agree they should be rehomed, into their inner-city apartments so they can nibble away at their food and their feet at night and scratch their children at night," he said (as acting PM, no less).
The deeper problem for the "bush" is that increasingly, it is not even the agricultural community for whom the Nats go into bat so much as FIFO miners and big coal.
So the hill the Nats will fight and die on now is emissions reduction - resisting it, that is. Never mind that the major farming peak bodies have signed up to the net-zero goal, or that major employers, banks, peak bodies, scientists and farmers themselves are all confronting the climate change problem square-on.
For the Nats, this fight is combatively political rather than economic. It is identity-based.
That the party's electoral business model widens and exploits these country-city divisions outwardly is nothing new.
But the gaudy use of divisive identity politics - i.e. to create problems rather than fix them - is being parlayed internally as well.
The whole nation is about to be held hostage to the Nats' intra-coalition identity crisis as Barnaby Joyce seeks to justify the stabbing of McCormack by articulating a harder line against international emissions cuts.
This bloodymindedness highlights the most glaring hypocrisy of all: the Nationals' frustration at losing their identity as a separate party from the dominant Liberals, a charge that resonated against McCormack in the party room.
That Joyce is the answer proves the Nationals want to have their cake and eat it too. They want a distinct identity but the same prizes of office: the ministerial coin, the chauffeur-driven cars, the big staff and the status.
If you want to know what the Nationals really stand for, it's all here: hollow gestures, overweening personal ambition, and the weaponisation of identity.
- Mark Kenny is a professor at the ANU's Australian Studies Institute and host of the Democracy Sausage podcast.