As I wait for the counting of votes to resume, I thought that this would be an excellent moment to contemplate recent events. But hey, this is politics and the past is the past and we never look, back because the future’s much more exciting.
I mean, if we looked back, we’d be declaring Bill Shorten the Prime Minister because Labor won the two-party prefered and,in 2010 when we were previously in the position of having a minority government, the Liberals were pretty clear on the fact that they should be the government because they won the most votes on the two-party prefered. (Yes, I know that some of you Labor Party people will challenge that both on the grounds that they only won the two-party prefered when they add the Nationals votes making it the two party versus one party prefered. Also, the fact that it wasn’t true may be another reason to dispute it.) So surely, if we were looking back, they wouldn’t have the temerity to now argue that governments are decided on the floor of the House of Representatives…
That would be so inconsistent.
However, if there’s one consistent thing I’ve discovered about politics, then it’s the inconsistency of politicians.
After running a scare campaign on negative gearing sending house prices down, while simultaneously arguing that it doesn’t price people out of the market by pushing up prices, Malcolm Turnbull spends his election night (morning) speech moaning about Labor’s dishonest campaign on Medicare. Never mind that he belongs to the party that gave us the “children overboard” fiasco.
Of course, Turnbull overlooks the fundamental point. While it may be an exaggeration to suggest that all’s fair in politics, the fact remains that, whatever the truth about their plans for Medicare, the other side can only get away with what’s believable. In other words, Bill Shorten couldn’t get away with suggesting that the Liberals are really lizard people being controlled by aliens from another galaxy where the concept of empathy is unknown (however, were he to suggest that about Barnaby Joyce he may receive some traction), but if he were to suggest that Liberals were planning to raise the GST to fifteen percent or introduce a state income tax, people would believe it because we had Malcolm and Scottie saying what a good idea it was, before saying, “Oh wait, it’s not and that’s got nothing to with the upcoming election,” then more than a handful of people would find that convincing.
But I digress. The future’s the thing, so completely ignoring the fact that my prediction of Malcolm limping over the line with enough seats to form a majority government looks inaccurate to everyone except Malcolm and George Brandis, I’m going to declare Bill Shorten the next Prime Minister of Australia. I have several reasons for this:
1. I think most people will agree when I say that I really like what Mr Turnbull said yesterday. Now I know that some of you will be saying that they can’t remember what he said. That’s because he didn’t appear in public yesterday and I think that he’s worked out that people like that and wish he’d do more of it. Which, of course, makes it hard for him to be PM.
2. When it comes to negotiating with the cross-benchers, we have a Prime Minister who’ll probably tell them that this is the sort of chaos he warned against and if they think that they’re cross-benchers, well, he’s even more cross because he has to deal with them. On Labor’s side, we have a union organiser who’s spent his professional life making deals. Granted, the Royal Commission did seem to suggest that some of the deals benefitted Mr Shorten more than his members, but we are talking about who’ll be the best person to make the deal here!
3. Brexit! There is a suggestion that this could lead to some problems in the financial markets and while many Australians have swallowed the line that the Liberals are excellent financial managers, the Liberals have managed to ensure that they’re not in government when such things happen. The oil shocks of the seventies and the GFC are two obvious examples. In fact, they’re the only two examples, but let’s face it, we’ve had a lot of Liberal government over the past seventy years.
4. While Shorten will have the backing of most of his party in his dealings with the Xenophonics, the Independents and Greens, Turnbull will have several people on his own side determined to bring him down. It’s quite likely that, even if he gets the backing of enough Independents, then someone in his party (Abetz, Bernardi or one of those anonymous sources that I like to make up so I can sound just like someone who gets to drink in the bars at Canberra) will announce that such a deal is a betrayal of Liberal Party values, even if many of you think the phrase “Liberal Party values” is an oxymoron.
5. Assuming that Turnbull decides to leave his house in the next few days and manages to hold on as PM by convincing Parliament of the need for “stability”, then it’d only be a matter of time before an internal challenge was launched. Someone’s bound to work out that when you take away the Turnbull supporters who lost the seats and add the Liberals who only voted for him because they were afraid of losing the election, then Turnbull no longer has the numbers. If there were a challenge, he’d lose. Labor would immediately move a no-confidence motion in Parliament which would be likely to succeed. This would leave Shorten with the potential to become PM without going to a general election by convincing the Independents that going to an election would just be an expensive waste of time… And more importantly, it may lose them their seats. He could then go to the Governor-General and announce that he had the confidence of the House and should be appointed the next PM.
Ok, well, I guess I’d better go and check the latest voting, so that I’m not making predictions based on flawed information. That’d be pretty silly. It’d be like accusing a PM of corrupt behaviour concerning a ute, based on a fake email. I’d feel pretty silly if I discovered that Turnbull’s prediction of the Liberals coming from behind in all seven doubtful seats that they need to gain a majority had just been proven correct.
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