The most surprising thing about the federal elections is not the result but the attitude of the Liberal leadership in the last days of the campaign and their reactions afterwards.
The results were foreseeable if not predictable. In an election in which:
- there was not a single, dominant issue;
- the Liberals had undermined their economic credentials by raising and dismissing in quick order raising the GST, requiring the states to re-introduce state income tax changes and significant changes to superannuation rules; and
- Malcolm Turnbull’s apparent, initial popularity was exposed for what it was - a dream,
the likelihood was that the Coalition would lose between six and ten members.
In the end, the Liberals lost 13 seats in net terms, despite winning the Victorian seat Chisholm following the retirement of a popular, local member...
One explanation for the loss of a few extra seats and the high vote for minor party candidates is the Brexit vote.
The fact that the Liberals promoted as the outcome of the Brexit vote a desire for stable government reinforces just how out of touch the major parties and the inner suburban elites are with mainstream Australia.
The major parties and the self-appointed elites do not want to accept that mainstream Australia has given up on political parties which they believe do not know what life is like for them at the coalface and do not care. For them the Brexit vote demonstrated that, sometimes, it is possible to strike a blow which hits the mark.
Labor’s Medicare campaign reinforced that instinct. While they do not think that Labor is in touch with mainstream Australia any more than the Liberals are, at least Medicare is an issue which affects their daily lives.
On the other hand, Malcolm Turnbull pontificated from his Potts Point mansion about a bright future with innovation - which sounded like code for an insecure future.
In these circumstances, the Liberals’ behaving in the last week of the campaign as if the results were in the bag, and indeed that they thought they could win seats, smacked of arrogance, complacency and incompetence.
The Herald Sun and internal critics of Victorian premier Daniel Andrews have tried to blame state issues, and especially a dispute involving the Country Fire Authority (CFA) volunteers, for the loss of Chisholm and Labor’s failure to win seats in Victoria, thereby costing Labor the election. Not surprisingly, the Liberals have encouraged this view, no doubt hoping it will flame internal tensions.
Discuss in our Forums
See what other readers are saying about this article!
Click here to read & post comments.
6 posts so far.