And so it came to pass that truth persisted, hope survived and democracy will be restored.
And so, it came to pass on the twenty-first day of May in the year 2022 that the people of Australia decided to end its decade long flirtation with what was a rotten, corrupt government and its lying leader Scott Morrison.
The polls were correct, taking into account the margin of error.
They decided that a change in government might bring about the many changes necessary to restore trust in government and attend to the many problems we face as we head into an uncertain future.
The winners were Labor, who will probably govern with a majority of one, some independents, and the Greens. If not a minority government.
The Nationals may have retained seats but experienced sizable swings. There were also large swings against One nation. Still, the biggest loser was the Liberal Party, which had been forced away from its natural constituency firstly by Tony Abbott and then by the religious zealot Scott Morrison.
Clive Palmer, of course, lost much of his pocket money – $70 million or thereabouts – and he can now go and hide somewhere in the annals of Australian political history.
On the Labor side, Kristina Keneally was a victim of a wrong decision to override the local committee. Other big losers were Tim Wilson and Josh Frydenberg, whose concession speeches revealed how little they understood why they had lost. The loss of Frydenberg cannot be overstated.
Perhaps they were still in shock. Rather than engage in some self-reflection about their performance and the way their party effectively alienated what should have been their natural constituency.
They sought to blame others; The Teal Independents, Climate 200, GetUp!, the tooth fairy, Peter Rabbit, anyone but themselves or their party, which had alienated women, particularly, ignored climate change issues, ICAC, etc.
The reality is that these ‘Teal’ women galvanised local support, literally in the thousands across the electorates that they contested. This doesn’t just happen. They tapped into the frustrations of the local constituents. If the other candidates who lost to independents adopt a similar lack of insight, then the LNP can be assured of further devastation in future elections.
The government seemed unable to grasp that a group of brilliant, very able, articulate, capable, strong, charismatic women could unseat them. Intelligent women rejected by the Liberals had to go it alone.
As a party, the Liberals now need to learn fast or face life in the political wilderness for many years to come. Peter Dutton from the conservative far right, in the absence of Frydenberg, will win the leadership at a time when they need to embrace the centre-left.
By choosing Anthony Albanese over Scott Morrison, Australia has said enough of the lying, cheating and rorting. They want honesty, responsibility, stability and transparency. Albanese may not have the charisma of a Hawke or Whitlam, but with a proven background in getting things done has the personality and credentials for the times.
Anyone with just an ounce of reason would have to concede that Morrison has not served us well. Claiming that he managed us through the pandemic when the states made the decisions was typical of his Prime ministership—taking the credit while blaming others for his mistakes.
If nothing else, eventually, Albanese will leave a legacy of having blocked the advance of conservative fascism in our country. If the Liberals turn to the hard right and go full Trump, it may spell the end of liberalism as we know it.
The result tells us that most voters thought they couldn’t trust Morrison and that his persistent lying damaged his character and his party.
It may take years to change the Liberal’s relationship with women and return to the broad church they once epitomised.
Albanese was proven correct in running a small target strategy. Especially in climate action, the small target approach seems to have worked a treat. Having been badly burnt in 2019 with well-thought-out policies, there was no point in repeating the error. The simple proposition that Albo would be better than Scomo was enough.
The election wasn’t a massive affirmation of Labor, either. It could be said that the outcome was a realignment of politics, with 7 in 10 not voting for the winning party. It can, however, walk away with a mandate on many policies. Climate change, a national ICAC, and a voice for our First Nations People are but three.
Any incumbent government has an enormous advantage over its opponents. It has the treasury and many other departments at its disposal, so it should have had an abundance of vision and ideas, but one-man shows usually end up with tired cabinets and lacklustre MPs.
The government offered nothing more than a weary version of three more years of the previous three.
With a growing list of problems to be faced now and into the future, the government didn’t offer any real solutions. In particular, their policies on climate change seemed to amount to nothing more than the same old remedies. It is safe to say that the climate wars that have divided the nation for a decade are now over.
Climate change was acknowledged as the biggest problem facing the nation and the world. Labor probably had some excuse for not being more serious (see earlier comments), but the coalition’s policy lacked urgency and commitment to reach net-zero by 2050.
When it became apparent that Labor would be victorious either in its own right or with the assistance of the Greens or Teal Independents, Antony Green finally called it a night. I became very emotional. Finally, the nightmare of hard-right governance was over.
I’m not sure how many elections I have left in me. Still, at least my country is in better hands now, and we can anticipate a new season of honesty. Notwithstanding the enormity of the Labor Party’s problems, a better-united future awaits us if we take the opportunities presented.
It must keep its promises, including a national corruption authority, and see that those guilty of criminality and rorting be punished for their misdeeds.
The Coalition is beset with internal divisions and a disregard for science. It will have a chance to address the folly of its ways. It should learn that governing with lying extremist leaders is futile. That economics and society are inextricably joined at the hip and should be treated that way.
Albanese now has to govern for all Australians (his words), and he must do so with more zeal than he has campaigned with. Bold, vigorous, and empathetic in the face of so many wanting a slice of an ever-dwindling pie. Equality, transparency and responsibility were also promises that will need to be kept.
Without delay, the new Prime Minister should begin working on bringing the country together and ensuring trust and truth is paramount.
Interest rates will continue to rise; inflation will be an ongoing problem, wages are stagnant, and diplomacy with China needs urgent attention. Ukraine still threatens global energy security, and the most damaging effects of global warming are now visible to all and sundry.
My thought for the day
Substantial and worthwhile change often comes with short-term controversy, but the pain is worth it for the long-term prosperity of all.
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