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Election 2022: Prospects for a New Multidimensional Era?

By Denis Bright

Election 2022 is more than a Labor victory. It opens the parliament of Australia to new voices from the Greens, Teal Independents and others who can rattle the political foundations of post-1949 Australia with around fifteen members on a progressive cross-bench.

Current projections show that the result is still in doubt in at least ten seats as shown by the ABC News Graphics.

Don’t be surprised if there are more round-abouts as the vast tally of pre-polling and postal votes are considered with about one third of voters now drawn to minor parties from across the political spectrum.

This time the far-right agendas of some well-resourced far-right parties have been more than challenged by the rise of progressive members from the Greens and Teal Independents.

Remarkably, the Scott Morrison was prepared to concede defeat and to welcome the ascendency of Anthony Albanese just five hours after the closing of the polls.

Next week Anthony Albanese will have been sworn in as interim leader to meet the other global heads of state at the AUKUS Meeting with our foreign minister Penny Wong in Tokyo.

Despite a swing to Labor in Queensland on both primary and two party preferred votes, Labor might be unfortunate enough to lose the seat of Griffith and to fail to make it across the line in the potentially winnable seats of Leichhardt, Flynn, Longman and Brisbane. The situation in Griffith might change as counting of pre-poll and postal votes continues (see chart on Queensland two-preferred estimates on ABC News).

Results in Griffith are so close that Terri Butler could retain her seat if the LNP vote slips from second to third place as the LNP is directing its preferences to Labor ahead of the Greens (see chart on ABC News).

With Labor so close to majority government, it should be possible for the Albanese Government to attract good-will from the progressive crossbench members. Even a slender absolute majority for Labor offers the luxury of being able to pick and choose from a range of alternative progressive agendas.

Since 2019, Labor has learnt to develop a more pragmatic sustainability agenda. The future emphasis is on the importance of employment diversification in industrial and coal mining seats like Flynn and the Hunter Valley.

Regrettably, the swing to Labor was not enough to unseat the National Party’s political dinosaur in Flynn despite an improvement in Labor’s primary vote of 7.6 per cent (ABC News):

 

With the current size and enthusiasm of the progressive crossbench, it will be quite difficult for a more hardline members of the LNP coalition to wield control of the parliamentary agenda at least in the House of Representatives. The progressive independents can be an asset in strengthening the change agenda with the new resources available to savvy pragmatic members of the cross-bench and staffers who have little empathy for that old conservative populism at home and militarism abroad agendas which have been such a feature of the post-1996 era.

The LNP will of course strive to cling onto old agendas. In Queensland, the LNP has allocated its surplus quotas to assist in the re-election of Pauline Hanson until 2028.

Australia has changed since the more predictable days of the old two-party system. This time Labor obtained swings in heartland urban and regional areas which did not translate into the defeat of LNP members in both Tasmania and Queensland.

Hopefully, the Green support base will not perceive Labor as the enemy and work co-operatively with the Albanese Government to implement a change agenda. The olive branch of responsible political consensus was contained in Anthony Albanese’s victory speech:

I want to seek our common purpose and promote unity and not fear and – optimism, not fear and division. It is what I have sought to do throughout my political life. And what I will bring to the leadership of our country. It is a show of strength to collaborate and work with people, not weakness.

I want to find that common ground where together we can plant our dreams. To unite around our shared love of this country, our shared faith in Australia’s future, our shared values of fairness and opportunity, and hard work and kindness to those in need. And I can promise all Australians this – no matter how you voted today, the government I lead will respect every one of you every day. And I’ll seek to get your vote next time.

Having steered Australia through the life and death struggles of the worst years of War in the Pacific, the bespectacled John Curtin made a similar speech to that of our incoming prime minister to open the 1943 election campaign. This time Labor did not overlook the contribution of Indigenous Australians while continuing John Curtin’s commitment to a more independent foreign policy:

“We can answer its patient, gracious call for a voice enshrined in our constitution. Because all of us ought to be proud that amongst our great multicultural society we count the oldest living continuous culture in the world. And I acknowledge Australia’s next Indigenous Affairs Minister, Linda Burney, who is here…

… On Monday morning, arrangements are in place to have these people sworn in as members of my team. To enable Penny and I to attend the important Quad leader’s meeting in Tokyo, with President Biden, Prime Minister Kishida and Prime Minister Modi. And I want the leaders of the economic team to start work on Monday morning as well.”

Empathy for political change in Australia has already extended to global media networks particularly in the USA and Britain (Rod McGuirk in the Washington Post 20 May 2022):

Asked at the National Press Club in January to explain who he was, Albanese replied he was the son of a pensioner mother who had grown up with the security of a local government-provided house.

Albanese said he was 12 years old when he became involved in his first political campaign. His fellow public housing tenants successfully defeated a local council proposal to sell their homes – a move that would have increased their rent – in a campaign that involved refusing to pay the council in a so-called rent strike.

The unpaid rent debt was forgiven, which Albanese described as a “lesson for those people who weren’t part of the rent strike: Solidarity works.”

“As I grew up, I understood the impact that government had, can have, on making a difference to people’s lives,” Albanese said. “And in particular, to opportunity.”

Our Man for All Seasons-A Younger Anthony Albanese with his mother Maryanne in Camperdown in 1992 to celebrate his 29th Birthday.

In the rough and tumble of A Grade Politics, co-operation between Labor and progressive independents and Green members can write a new era in Australian political history to ensure that our future is not highjacked by voices from the far-right of conservative populism as in much of the post-1996 era.

 

Denis Bright is a financial member of the Media, Entertainment and Arts Alliance (MEAA). Denis is committed to consensus-building in these difficult times. Your feedback by using the Reply button on The AIMN site is always most appreciated. It can liven up discussion. I appreciate your little intrusions with comments and from other insiders at The AIMN. Full names are not required when making comments. However, a valid email must be submitted if you decide to hit the Reply button.

 

 

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16 comments

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  1. Susan

    Anthony’s mum , Maryanne, is always looking after him from above .
    The initial results of the election count were not too good but things picked up as the night went on .
    We can now all look forward to a new future with people working together for the good of all of us .

  2. Tessa_M

    Why do the conservatives have such a hold over regional electorates like Kennedy and Maranoa when huge majorities only encourage apathy?

  3. James Robo

    Keep up the good work for people’s journalism, Denis

  4. Leila

    A very topical article Denis. Thanks for your quick and relevant take on the election count which is far from finalized. I agree that Labor might have the luxury of an absolute majority even if it is 77 seats with one to spare in the case of an unexpected by-election.

  5. paul walter

    Yes, seems very “It’s Time”.

    The public are fed up with nonsenses from Canberra over the last decade.

  6. Indigo

    Labor has a problem with its traditional support base in Queensland and Tasmania. What are political insiders doing to avoid a repeat of these problems? Constituents are voting against their self-interest from media cues.

  7. Albos Elbow

    Both parties, not just Labor lost out in this election, Its an historical shift away from the 2 party system to Independents and Greens.

    Labor winning just 32.9% of primary votes and COAL-NP 35%.
    This represents the lowest primary vote ever for a political party to be able to form government.
    The main reason was Labor and Liberals weak policies on climate change.

    Having said that, with 72% of the vote confirmed, Labor have a swing of +4.71% and it will possibly go to 5%+ swing at the end of counting, while COAL-NP swing is -5.7%.
    Labor is also winning the 2PP vote by 53.3% to 46.7%, which is pretty close to what the last Morgan Poll predicted.

    Labor has also increased the number of senate seats from 11 to 14, while COAL-NP have decreased significantly from 13 to just 8.
    Labor losses went to the Greens and independents mainly while COAL-NP lost votes to Labor and the Independents.

    So lets not be too critical of Labor.
    While votes for the 2 major parties have fallen, Labor has come out best compared to COAL-NP.
    Albanese has done a good job to oust Scummo.

  8. Across the Aisle

    Good comment from Albos’ Elbow. Labor has lots of goodwill from a new network of progressive MPs who might reach across the aisle from the cross bench

  9. Bruce White

    A well written article. Congratulations Denis.And a pleasant change from the toxic character assassinations and misinformation from much of the mainstream (ie right wing reactionary) commentary which tries to pass itself off as informative news. Morrisons fear tactics about alleged Labor economic incompetence has backfired badly. Many people are now questioning the economic competence of the coalition, who still hubristically beat their chests over their so called ‘economic management infallibility’. As for Dutton….. I move that the member no longer be heard.🤣

  10. rubio@central coast

    Cheers to Bruce White for his comments. . Labor is well over the line in my own electorate of Robertson but there are problems in some disadvantaged outer metropolitan and regional seats. Labor too has some renewal taks in its grassroots suport base in those areas mentioned. The problem is a patchy one. Labor seems to have recovered in the Hunter Valley seats but not in electorates like Lindsay and Page. Regional Victoria is also a good model with Corangamite, Bendigo and Ballaraat becoming Labor strongholds. Let’s extend best practice in the future by taking up the concerns of disengaged constituents who may not even enrol to vote.

  11. Albos Elbow

    I love Mark McGowan’s take on things.
    https://www.theage.com.au/politics/federal/mcgowan-launches-post-election-spray-attacking-peter-dutton-liberals-clive-palmer-and-press-20220523-p5anqo.html

    “McGowan saved his final spray for Canberra press gallery journalists who travelled to WA during the campaign.

    “The press conferences I went to [with Anthony], they were screaming and interrupting and rude and insulting, intimidating and bullying,” he said.

    “Sort of stuff that in the workplace, you get sacked for. They need to reflect on their behaviour, I’ve never seen anything like it.”

    I was thinking of moving to NZ if Scummo won the election, but I’ve always had a soft spot for Perth.
    I am in deep negotiations with she who must be obeyed to sell up everything and move to WA to purchase a start up iron ore mine :))

  12. Heather Cameron

    McGowan was exactly right when he said this ““I think the most important thing was Anthony Albanese, the federal team and the work they did to provide a positive alternative for the federal government,”

    His comment about Morrison being clever cf. Dutton ie. ““I actually don’t think he’s that smart, I’ve seen him present on things I don’t really pick up there’s much there as opposed to Scott Morrison who is a clever guy”, was interesting.

    Clever with negative politics, raising fear and spreading his appalling malignant narcissism disease. Most people are addicted to Morrison. And need I say Morrison’s weird divide and conquer tactics, in trying to scramble everything so he could remain king.

    As Bernard Keane on Crikey said Morrison has destroyed his own party from within in his bid for right wing fascism. https://www.crikey.com.au/2022/05/22/scott-morrison-liar-lightweight-loser-one-final-victory/ He would banish his own kids if they were not in lock step with him. The guy is not worthy of admiration in any form. But the whole history of the Liberal Party is like this, in my view. They shouldn’t be running this country so often and for so long. It’s like a repeat of more destruction over previous. Kind of like cancer. Getting our indigenous people onboard will make a hell of a difference to this country. Bring it on.

  13. Albos Elbow

    Yes Heather, I thought that was an unexpected compliment on Morrison being clever, coming from McGowan.
    Its like saying one of those tennis ball machines that keep repeatedly firing balls at you, even when you don’t want one, is clever.

    I think he was just trying to emphasise that Commander Potato Head is dumb and not fit to be a PM.

  14. GL

    On a side note: No wonder Jackboots Gaetjens is faux whining and crying foul, he’s going to lose his $900,000+ a year pay packet. Bananaby is also going to have to go back and barely surviving on his back bencher salary because I can’t see Thugspud making him deputy leader. In fact, I will be surprised if he makes Bridget Archer deputy leader of the opposition.

  15. Albos Elbow

    The new PM promised us a fairer Australia for all, with noone held back . . .
    https://www.smh.com.au/politics/federal/albanese-government-turns-around-its-first-asylum-seeker-boat-20220524-p5ao2y.html

    We can only hope things improve for the 1,380 people still struggling under Australia’s offshore processing policy, the 19,000 refugees subject to temporary protection, the 30,000 people left with no support or safety net while they wait interminably for an initial decision on their application for onshore protection and the countless Australians of refugee background who remain separated from close family members, including their partners and their children detained overseas.

  16. corvusboreus

    GL,
    Dutton has little to no say in who will be coalition 2IC.
    The coalition arrangements automatically make head of the National Party default deputy coalition leader, and the Nats leader is decided by internal vote.

    Joyce is currently making some vapid noise about the nats formally divorcing from the coalition, but since he well knows such a move would condemn his party to irrelevance/extinction this is more than likely just Barnaby blustering with bullshit.

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