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Triumph over Dutton-style politics: A retrospective look

Of course, any election will have various reasons for why a particular candidate or party won or lost. Therefore, what I write can only be taken as my opinion and may contain some bias.

So, how does one decide why a party won or lost? The facts will show that one party won because it got more votes than the other, or preferences played an important part. These are facts. Other than that, it is all assertion.

However, other reasons, of course, influence the result and are endless in their variety. They can only be considered views, and one has to consider the veracity of the statement, who is giving it and their qualifications or sentiments for doing so.

My own stab in the dark suggests that a large portion of the community rejects conservatism and its tactics of fear and scare. They have not yet forgiven the LNP for their deplorable governance over almost a decade since they were last in power. And might I add the absence of even the meekest of apologies?

Morrison may have gone, but he has been replaced by Peter Dutton, who this cohort dislikes with a vengeance; they know his history and reject what he stands for. Come the election, if he continues in this vein of Trumpish negative politics, he will offend more people.

Writing for The Guardian, Paul Karp had thoughts dissimilar to mine, saying that “attack lines about a tax on cars can do real damage.” He pointed out that:

“Over on Sky, Peta Credlin said the bullish early results showed ‘the strategy’s right, the positioning is right.’ Of course, the strategy is to falsely claim that a fuel efficiency standard that will give Australians a choice of more efficient cars amounts to a tax. But, hey, there are votes in it.”

In my translation, she is saying that we need to use more lying bullshit if we are to win office.

“When the results soured for the Liberals and it became clear they would fall short, Credlin’s prescription was that the opposition needed ‘more of the same’ to go one better next time.”

When the dust had settled, and it was apparent that Labor had won, she said the Dunkley by-election result was a “wake-up” for the Albanese government, with the Liberal Party securing “the preconditions you need to start taking seats off Labor at a general election.”

As simple as it seems, people demand truth from their politicians. Lies about taxes on cars, the cost-of-living crisis, and immigration will continue with further embellishment.

Sussan Ley is a politician prone to bizarre comments regarding the Dunkley vote swing. She claimed that:

“… if the same swing occurred in the upcoming federal election, the Coalition would win 11 seats, which would be enough to form a government.”

However, it’s worth noting that by-elections differ from federal elections, and the results may not necessarily be replicated.

On Sky News, Pauline Hanson said:

“The turn is on against Labor because they can’t stand his lies – he goes back on his word – and he’s not a true leader for this nation.”

Writing in The Australian (paywalled) on the Monday after the by-election Robert Gottliebsen reckoned that:

“With the right strategies, the Dunkley by-election was a poll the Drover’s Dog could have won for the Liberals.”

On ABC Insiders the next morning, David Speers interviewed Dan Tehan, the member for Wannan, who showed all the emotion of a politician who had won a momentous victory. The only problem was that they lost. It was something to see.

I have some opinions from my Facebook friend Tim Leeder, who voiced the following comments. Tim is a citizen who takes a considerable interest in politics. He is candid, astute, and has a brilliant memory:

  1. A liberal politician last night said a 3 to 4 per cent swing would put the libs back in government. Not true. It would not be enough. Swings are never uniform.
  2. A former liberal staffer said (No name was mentioned.) They need to stress out. We are better at economic management. There needs to be a product difference between us and Labor.
  3. They also need to negate issues like climate change.
  4. Former Victorian Premier Kennett was on the TV coverage last night saying people are waking up to Labor. They are hurting the middle class.
  5. The election is still 12 months away. I think, on balance, Labor will win, but in a minority government situation.
  6. The swing was higher than the ordinary by-election swing against a government in its first term but not against a government overall. It was always a big ask. I suspect the result was about what was expected, depending on the final swing. If it is under 5 per cent, I think it is disappointing for the Liberal Party.
  7. Labor got a sympathy vote. But I suspect the tax cuts issue saved the seat for them.
  8. One view is that the Liberals did not vigorously contest Dunkley last time, so the margin increased to 6 per cent.
  9. Libs have a real problem in Victoria; there is no doubt about that.
  10. Greens’ vote went down. One view is that they were too concerned with Gaza, etc. Aussies don’t care. They do care about the cost of living.

Tim makes some better points than those in the Liberal Party and the media, for that matter. However, at this stage of the election cycle, like polls, we can only take these events as a snapshot of people’s thinking.

But how do the readers of this site see it at this stage of the cycle? Do you agree with the examples I have raised in this piece? What is your perception?

My thought for the day

Just because we were governed by clowns it doesn’t mean Labor can be complacent.

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14 comments

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  1. Andrew Smith

    Further, amongst all this current RW media, LNP, ON, influencer etc. noise, the ALP can always rely on Bob Carr to promote SPA (patron) nativist Tanton talking points and faux demographics on Sky News? Ageing Australia is a very confusing and data illiterate place……

    ‘‘We don’t have to do it’: Bob Carr criticises Australia’s record immigration levels’

    It’s not ‘record immigration’, but the highest net temporary border movements since 2006, mostly due to temporary resident students as international education surged post Covid.

  2. wam

    Tassie, lord??
    The ‘no’??
    The qld local and by elections?
    labor looks good in SA/WA
    News corp and the autocue journalists continuous calling ‘crisis’ over
    the economy of living costs,
    immigration,
    and
    giving air to the bandit’s carping,
    dutton’s lies
    All are likely to see albo lose.

  3. uncletimrob

    In 50 years as a voter, I have to say that Dutton is one of the nastiest politicians I’ve seen.
    He has his rottenness on display at all times, and unfortunately has a band of happy followers like Ley and Credlin who love to spread his evil.
    I hope – without much hope – that his electorate will see him for what he is at the next election.

  4. B Sullivan

    My perception is that for an acknowledged democracy, Australia has little regard for a genuine representative democracy that fairly represents the democratic will of the people. How did I perceive that? I’ve looked at the AEC records of the “will of the people” also known as the primary vote. Then I couldn’t help noticing how the percentages of those votes don’t tally with the number of seats allocated to each party in Parliament. It is not an optical illusion, it is a statistical fact which is so obvious that I can only wonder why it remains so determinedly ignored, especially by professional election analysts like the ABC’s Anthony Green.

    The consequences of this apathy for a genuine democracy are also perceptible. The private interests of the few tend to prevail over the public interests of the many. Precisely what is not supposed to happen in a democracy.

    Former invader of Iraq in spite of the will of the people John Howard perceived that in Australia it’s not the number of people who vote for a political party that counts, it is the number of seats that a party wins that matter. I don’t know what the appropriate word for ‘rule by seats’ is. It might possibly be sedocracy, but it certainly isn’t democracy, because not everyone has a fair representative seat at the table.

  5. Phil Pryor

    Too many Australians do not know much or care, are prosperous enough, if so, by earnings, finance and outlooks interdependent on coal, gas, oil, fumes, pollution, banks, investments, finance, political “stability”, old orthodoxy and a bluntness of deliberate ignorance of the future. A sack of wet orifice outflows like a Dutton or Joyce, backed by a repulsive greedy deluded foreign media maggotty mogul, and we have a recipe for blindness running towards disaster. Thus, politics here stinks, is fearful, uninformed, resentful, divisive, dangerous to our dear descendants and this planet. Politics is run by an insular class of blinkered greedites.

  6. Steve Davis

    B Sullivan, the primary vote is not “the will of the people” as you seem to assert.

    When election results are based wholly on the primary vote you end up with a circus such as we see in the UK and US.

    The preferential system we have here is not perfect, but that’s not the problem.

    The problem is that representative democracy has been hijacked by predators and parasites, an outcome that was foretold over two thousand years ago.

  7. Terence Mills

    It is frequently noted, when it comes to election tactics and political lies, that Labor were a major proponent of a lie with their Mediscare tactic suggesting that the coalition would privatise Medicare.

    In fact, what we know is that the coalition under Health Minister Dutton had looked into privatising the claims administration of Medicare rather that having it run by a government entity. The coalition never denied this but screamed blue murder that Labor were spreading misinformation.

    When you look at Medicare, it is an insurance system governed by legislation : premiums are paid by the punters by way of a levy and topped up by the government. The claims are submitted normally via health practitioners and are paid out electronically to claimants in accordance with the prescribed benefit limits.

    In fact, there is nothing to sell that the coalition could capitalise on but what they were looking into was hiving off the administration to an outside entity ; presumably they hoped to save money by doing this as it would allow then to take the Medicare employees off the government payroll and most of these employees would in turn be picked up by the private provider.

    A bit like when the coalition got rid of the Commonwealth Employment Service and had these services privatised : the difference being that the loss of the CES services was never effectively replaced by the private providers – they don’t actually get people into employment but they relieved the Commonwealth of having to provide an essential service.

    The coalition return shot was to claim that Labor would introduce a ‘Death tax’ and this, whilst it had no substance and was entirely made up, was avidly peddled in regional Queensland in particular : it worked quite well for the coalition even though it was an outright lie.

    It’s all in the language and how you weaponise it !

  8. Max Gross

    The LNP is an abomination but the ALP is a huge disappointment. I’ll be placing the Libs last, alongside other RWNJs, as always, but no longer will I preference the Labs. In the next election I will vote progressive independents and the Greens ahead of them all. Unless knee-jerk Albanese snaps out of it, returns Labor to its roots and stops being led by the nose by Dutton.

  9. Clakka

    The whole world is being held to ransom by hate and bs peddling disrupters and destroyers funded by oligarchs and kleptocrats who want to maintain their stranglehold on the world by going all the way to destruction of representative democracy.

    The main vehicle is via social media, whose barons, in the main don’t give a toss. But more insidiously by the sensation seeking utterly corrupt, self-serving mainstream media. Together they are only interested in commercial gain and dominance via a feckless, catch-and-kill free-market unregulated by government.

    These are the psycho-wars of today. They are hell-bent and very sophisticated, and their victims are lazy, complacent, engorged by and addicted to bling.

    The mainstream media is a far from the Fourth Estate as it could ever be. They sell-out to the highest bidder and the most malleable corruptors. Across the world, criminal advantage of the situation is being taken full-steam.

    The mainstream media were silent on the decade or so of putrid wreckage by the LNP, and now want to destroy the reforming Albanese Labour govt by any means possible. So understanding the nuances and truth from mainstream media is nigh on impossible. Very significant alternate research is required, and most people haven’t got the time or inclination to do that.

    None of it bodes well. Especially when it is reported that several countries (not at war) have pronounced that their policies are being focused on a pre-war stance.

  10. B Sullivan

    Steve Davis,

    The primary vote is the most reliable record of the will of the people in as far as their choice of political party representation is concerned. 15% of the voters want to be represented by the Greens, 5% want to be represented by the Nats. The Greens only have 4 seats in parliament, the Nats have 10. is that Democracy or is that the problem that exposes Australian “Democracy” as a sham.

    Preferential voting is not the problem it is the means by which this sham is not immediately perceived by the voters. Why is preferential voting compulsory? Why is there no ballot option to say no more preferences? Why are Australians compelled to endorse parties who do not represent their political will? Seems a bit authoritarian to me. Australians must endorse political parties that are not of their choice nor liking. Do I perceive oppression?

    The circuses you refer to are not elected based on a compulsory primary vote. Voting is voluntary, and in the US voter suppression is even a lucrative industry. Now, we have also to contend with the problem of internet profiling of individual elector’s political leanings thanks to intensive data mining by platforms Facebook and Twitter. They provide, at a price, professional profilers like Cambridge Analytica with all the data they need to manipulate individual voters. They can be persuaded to get out and vote or stay home and not bother. The have the means of individually targeting and influencing both voter zealotry and voter apathy.

    The Australian system does not return a fair result because it is not proportionately representative. If 15% of the people want to vote for Greens representation they should be entitled to have 15% of the seats in parliament. Does anyone have a problem with perceiving that democratic right? Does any else perceive the fact that the National Party, which is essential to the Liberals winning government as a coalition, is over-represented in parliament? is that fair? Does anyone perceive the unfairness and injustice of this situation?

    These comments are supposed to be about perception. Is what I am saying really so hard to perceive?

  11. Steve Davis

    B Sullivan, I agree that the Nats are over-represented in parliament. This is deliberate, and it’s wrong.

    Under our electoral system electoral districts must have roughly the same number of voters, but variations are allowed for rural areas due to their sparse population. Why should this be?

    If I recall correctly, when Joh’s gerrymander was removed in Qld it was not actually removed at all, it was simply made a little less offensive. As I understand it, we still have a gerrymander.

    According to wikipedia the most conspicuous examples of malapportionment are in Sth Aust, West Aust and Qld.

    There’s your problem.

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