I’m trying this morning to get a feeling for the future of politics in our country. Not much critical analysis has been written about the aftermath of the May 21 election.
Probably the most substantive thing I noticed was that the young have finally caught up with the aged. Yes, the Millennials have caught up with the Baby Boomers. Let me explain: For many years the old have supported the right of politics, and the young have latched onto the left. Polls have consistently shown this. The seniors in an ageing population are dying quickly and taking the conservative vote with them.
The young left vote has been exposed in significant proportion. Labor, the Greens and the Independents obtained 75% of the total vote. The old card-carrying supporter of my vintage has gone, and the young with no natural allegiance have moved in.
Our national census tells multiple stories about a country experiencing considerable change. It doesn’t paint much of a picture of the chances of the right in the next election. Population shifts in Victoria and New South Wales will lead the Electoral Commission to eliminate what were three blue-ribbon Coalition seats. All now held by so-called Teal Independents.
Another ingredient in this recipe for a rapidly changing nation is its browning. And the focus on immigration has shifted from the end of the war, white Europeans and the 60s, Italians and Greeks, and the Asian influx that followed to the now Middle Easton, African and Indian persuasion.
In my thoughts on what might emerge in the aftermath of the election, I find it astonishing that no self-reflection has occurred. I mean, does the Coalition think they were just victims of being in office a tad long? Maybe they feel that being on the far right eliminates any circumspection.
We have heard not even a cry that the leader failed or that we should never have appointed him as our leader. It’s as if he is not to blame for anything – the young saw his deceit and cunning through his lies and voted with purpose. Why couldn’t more of the elderly see through him?
At this point in my writing, you are probably asking yourself, “didn’t he watch Four Corners?” on July 3. I did, but it only focused on branch stacking and pre-selection in NSW. There is more to it than that.
I want to know why Morrison had such a hold on the party. When it became apparent that they were going to lose, why was he not confronted? Why wasn’t he told to tone down his religiosity? Those and many other questions remain unanswered.
It leaves the conservative parties caught between a rock and a hard place. Just like when John Howard advised Tony Abbott against Royal Commissions into the Unions and Pink Batts, opining that they weren’t worth the trouble.
Labor hasn’t much choice. Having championed a Corruption Commission for so long, the Prime Minister is duty-bound to provide it with some work. They have enough investigative work to last a couple of years.
Here are but a few examples of alleged corruption:
The land they paid 30 times its value for, Sports rorts, misappropriation of water from Murray-Darling by coalition donors, $444m to Great Barrier Reef Foundation with no tendering, many of Angus Taylor’s questionable activities, $30 million to Foxtel for no apparent reason and there is a list as long as the Flemington straight.
On the one hand, voting against an Integrity Commission will cause much grief for the Opposition. On the other, they, the Coalition, have no choice but to vote for one in the knowledge that there are those in their party who will have to face the music for their sins.
What happened with Robodebt and who gave the order to proceed when it was illegal needs a Royal Commission.
Prime Minister Anthony Albanese will have to make a similar choice to Abbott’s. He can say that we must investigate all the allegations to return to a decent democracy or that he is not into vengeance politics. However, we may need a prick of spite to prove what can happen to democracies when corruption is allowed to flourish. I believe blood needs to flow now so that the governance we were forced to endure never happens again.
Of the many mountains the Coalition will have to climb to return to its once-held dominance, none will be more important than relevance. It will not be regaining lost seats or how far right it should go, but how relevant are they as political parties. By the next election, their base will be further eroded by the loss of more elderly voters, leaders unsuited to the times and two parties who have drifted away from each other. So much so that even talking to each other brings on conflicts.
You cannot buy relevancy. It doesn’t come in a box. It comes about with good policy, leaders of proven trust and saleability, and a capacity to overcome past errors.
At the moment, the leader of the National Party, David Littleproud, looks out of his depth. Peter Dutton has picked a rather odd time to go on leave (all expenses paid) after declaring that his party’s policy on climate won’t change and that he will fight the next election on education in the belief that communists are teaching our children.
Making it even harder is a Government quite the opposite of the previous one – a trustworthy leader backed by a team of competent ministers ready to put things right over time. An understanding electorate is glad of the truth even when difficult to swallow. This Coalition has none of these prerequisites.
Anthony Albanese exhibits leadership qualities the populace has been waiting a decade for. Of vast experience with a diplomatic manner and forceful tone. Comfortable on the global stage without a hint of self-importance.
Yes, inflation may rise to 7%. Yes, interest rates will continue to go up. Yes, climate change and energy will be costly, but the people will accept it if you tell them the truth. The same goes for our debt.
Relevance is a consistent reminder of how the electorate views its politicians. The Government is ready to do its job; the Greens are emboldened and Teals excited. This parliament starts its repair work on Tuesday, July 26 2022. The question is, though, will the Opposition have any relevancy? Only time will tell.
The independents and the Greens would do well to recognise that they are not in power. They, along with the Opposition, form part of the body politic and should behave maturely if they want to be seen as relevant.
My thought for the day
The ability of thinking human beings to blindly embrace what they are being told without referring to evaluation and the consideration of reason never ceases to amaze me. It is tantamount to the rejection of rational explanation.
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