There are a few reasons why parties might engage in branch stacking.
One could be genuine grassroots support for a worthy local candidate who has inspired political engagement.
Much more likely than that altruistic possibility is that party factions are at play with power to influence party structure and direction the sought-after goal. Unfortunately, this can lead to incompetent puppets being put forward
Even more insidious than both those options is when a small minority take over and try to push views that are out-of-step with the direction that broader society is comfortable with.
That is what has happened in the Coalition with the religious right seeking domination. Swept up in this crowd are climate change deniers, homophobes, anti-vaxxers, and xenophobes.
Appealing to these groups might be a political strategy advocated by some, but it is definitely not a strategy for good governance.
Branch-stacking leads to confirmation bias and the promotion of fringe issues. Niche audiences have their voices amplified by Sky After Dark which is streamed for free into Canberra parliamentary offices and listened to avidly by Coalition MPs.
The constant culture wars, wedge politics, and the denigration of experts as ‘unelected elites’ over the last decade has been exhausting and pointless. Finally, Australia woke up and said enough is enough.
We are sick of elected representatives refusing to listen to evidence and expert advice.
We are sick of confected conflict.
We are sick of factional deals that see incompetent people promoted.
We are sick of politics standing in the way of solutions.
The Labor government will need the best advice available and the best team possible to negotiate the difficult times we face. People want truth, not spin.
Can they forego the politics and party favours? Will they finally realise that internal wars are only destructive? Can they share good governance rather than petulantly wanting to own it?
We shall see.
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