As one speculates on the deteriorating trajectory of the Australian economy under the stranglehold of COVID-19, it’s not hard to see the gradual demise of the Morrison government as we limp toward 2022, despite the perception that they have managed the whole health crisis reasonably well.
With an election not due until mid-2022, something Labor can count as a blessing, the Coalition will be hard pressed to explain to an impatient electorate as to why things are taking so long to improve.
By 2022, the economy will still be very fragile, with unemployment likely to remain high, perhaps as much as 8% without JobKeeper and a new improved JobSeeker. Combine that with outstanding bond issues close to, or in excess of, $1 trillion dollars and a government ideologically committed to reducing this fake debt and its deficit spending, a prolonged period of low wage growth and rising inflation will persist.
By that time, however, the patience of the Australian voter will have run out. No longer will they believe the rhetoric, the mantras or the likely dire predictions of the Murdoch media that an incoming Labor government would be worse.
It will become apparent to those middle-class swinging voters who view themselves as little capitalists, that a marked decline in living standards has occurred for which the Conservatives have failed to adequately respond to, or appear to be able to remedy.
It’s a scenario similar to 1983 when we saw the Hawke Labor government elected following a period of high unemployment and economic mismanagement under the Fraser government … the one where John Howard was Treasurer.
Labor went on to lead the country for the next 13 years. They introduced several major economic reforms that fundamentally changed and elevated the Australian economy to a point, somewhat ironically, where conditions in a growing world economy enabled the very same, Lazarus performing John Howard to subsequently govern and to be seen to be so successful.
Ironic because, if a conservative Government had remained in power during that time, they would never have had the vision necessary to enact those reforms themselves.
By 2022, with much of the world still struggling under the weight of post-Covid mismanagement and conservative governments under increasing pressure to perform better, time will have run out for Scotty from Marketing, assuming of course, that he is still there.
That does not assume either, that Anthony Albanese will still be there. Bright minds with more charismatic appeal and a flair for theatre are already waiting in the wings establishing their credentials. Just as Labor’s Bill Hayden was convinced to stand aside in 1983, so too might Albanese. If events become such that a quick leadership change may be seen as a pragmatic, if not irresistible opportunity, it could happen.
The Morrison Government, however, will be on a hiding to nothing. They have only ever looked good when the economy was on auto-pilot. Their lack of vision has always been their undoing. Once events transpire to challenge their capacity to be innovative and creative, they collapse in a clumsy heap of confusion and dysfunction.
There will be a lot of challenges for the Coalition over the next 18 months; challenges they will struggle with, ideologically. History tells us that it won’t end well.
Over time, history has a habit of repeating itself politically and such a time, for Australian politics, is less than two years from now. So let the games begin.
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