On the eve of the 2013 election I wrote a piece titled, of all things, The 2016 Election. It was my prediction of who would win the 2016 election and why. Twelve months into Abbott’s (first and only) term the predictions have been spot-on. I don’t claim to have a crystal ball or have the ability to glimpse into the future. Rather, the future can be easy to predict when we are dealing with the predictable.
The Abbott Government have helped because they are just so damn predictable. Here is the article from September 2013:
Let us indulge ourselves and assume that Rupert Murdoch’s shonky Newspolls are correct and the incompetent, gaffe prone Tony Abbott wins the job of leading us after Saturday’s election and look ahead three years: what would happen in the 2016 election?
What would have voters learned after three years under Tony Abbott (and his moguls)?
The first thing they’d have learned would be the obvious: the Tony Abbott Government they voted in will in no way resemble the government they voted for. What they wanted, looks nothing like what they got. But I don’t think this will be the key issue so I will not adress it here. The issue will be about where the country is going, which would be nowhere, rather than how badly Abbott has been guiding it.
His term as leader would have reinforced our perception of him as he was in opposition. Tony Abbott would not have provided one tiny morsel of evidence that he had any plan of moving this country forward, let alone managing it. This was apparent in his term as Opposition leader. The preceding Labor Government focused fairly and squarely on moving forward but it was stalled not just by sorting through the mess left by the Howard Government, but also amid screams of horror from the opposition that the government was doing absolutely nothing. And as the Government’s term progressed during a period when it could have been meeting its commitments to the electorate and moving this country forward, it was further stalled by an obstructionist opposition, again, amid screams of horror from those causing the obstructions. Plus of course a fair amount of chest beating.
And by 2016 we would have learned that chest beating about stopping the boats (which will not be stopped) does not move the country forward. Unplugging the national broadband network does not move the country forward either. Nothing he has offered will.
There will be a different demographic in three years time and they will want to see the country move at a pace that keeps up with the rest of the world. And this new demographic is the key. In the three years leading up to the 2016 election youth will have become a powerful electoral tool. Boxlid, who has been a guest poster here commented that:
Our current youth is far more aware than generations before us, they don’t fall for spin and media proclamations, they know how to access information and share it between everyone else.
Ask the teachers in high school about their level of understanding of the students they are teaching. From what I hear, they have to spend extra time to keep up because they don’t have adequate resources available to them.
Our youth are adults at a younger age and capable of making decisions for themselves regarding their own lives. Difficult to accept isn’t it?
Our younger generation are not dumb and stupid. They are creating our future and from my interaction with them in many ways they are remarkable, skilled, talented and forward looking not just two years, not just five years or ten years: they are looking at fifty years or more and embracing all of the potential opportunities that the future has to offer.
The Abbott Government hasn’t offered this new demographic the possibilities of the future. By 2016 there will be hundreds of thousands of new voters demanding it. Hundreds of thousands of voters unhindered by the influence of a declining media and discontent with the country’s stagnation. They will have a voice.
Tony Abbott would have given no indication that he has any idea of what’s happening in the rest of the world. He would have shown also he has no idea that the mind-set of most people in the Western world has been dragged out of the 1970s. The world is not flat and we now live in a global society.
Furthermore, we are in a new environment of border-less or global economies and markets. One major challenge he faced in this global economy was to think, plan and act globally as well as domestically. He will have failed. He remained entrenched in his 1970s mindset. He failed to develop an international focus amid the diminishing influence of domestic markets in the face of the competitive global economy and global ideas (think technology and climate change). This global village provided an opportunity he overlooked. In 2016 we would have expected that a successful government recognised it as an opportunity and would have initiated changes in response to those opportunities.
Mr Abbott didn’t have a global mindset and he failed to move the country forward. The new demographic will recognise this far more than the rest of us and their vote will be influential. More so than ever before. The older demographic that Tony Abbott has appealed to will have diminished significantly.
What, then, would happen in the 2016 election?
My prediction: possibly Bill Shorten to lead Labor to a win over an out-of-touch Tony Abbott.
I may have erred on the latter. Tony Abbott and his government are living down to all expectations, but I’m not sure that Bill Shorten is living up to those expected of him.