After one of the longest and most exciting election campaigns, we finally have a result and a rare and beautiful result it is too, subject to the Liberal party recognising their rightful position in Australian Democracy.
Despite nearly all the Mainstream Media outlets ignoring the polling and trying to project a foregone conclusion, sadly including the once robust ABC, the Voters stuck to their guns and registered their unhappiness with a Party that trashed their promises from the previous Election and promised more of the same.
The Voters were unmoved over the whole 8 weeks as the polling showed us.
Best of all, even if the Liberal party refuse to accept that the Voters have their number on the incessant attacks in Medicare, and continue to believe they can keep perpetuating the lie, failure to treat folk with more respect will see them heavily defeated next time around if Labor keep tracking with good policies and a stable team.
Of course it would be better for Australian Democracy if they wake up and decide to provide a credible alternative next time around, but it’s still a win for the country if only one major Party has worked it out.
Some of the interesting things we learned from this Election.
- An 8 week campaign doesn’t necessarily offer you a decent view of the policies, but it gives you a chance to explain them if you do have a real plan as Labor did.
- The popularity of the Party Leader (or lack of) doesn’t have a huge impact on the outcome. Except in the case of where all you are offering is Mr Nice Guy and folk wanted to know what you are going to do.
- Heavily attacking a low profile Opposition Leader can really backfire if he has policies that make sense and the Government has nothing to sell.
- Voters remember when you trash your Election promises and then deny you have done so. Previous governments have dealt with this via core and non-core promises which can work, but flat out denial tends to irritate them.
- Independent MPs have an important role to play even though it annoys the heck out of the Majors. There is another lesson buried in here that the Liberal party seems reluctant to take on board, and that is that bitching about being handed a close result doesn’t cause Voters to open up a vein because the PM feels let down. Quite the opposite. You are re-enforcing their theory that you need to be monitored. It doesn’t win you Votes. It loses them.
- Being good at taking “selfies” can only get you so far. That’s best reserved at very short campaigns where you can sneak through on the plastic and avoid the issues. (This one should have been learned from Kevin 07 in his 2nd stint.)
- Telling Aussies you are calling a Double D so you can get rid of Senators who hold you to account is not a good look when the trust with the Voters has been betrayed by the previous leader. Especially when you claim he did an awesome job. It looks like BS and further undermines the trust that you should be trying to restore.
There is a chance that the Liberal party can manage a partial recovery if Bernadi ignores history and forms a Hard Christian faction then gets ejected from the Party but I think that’s highly unlikely. It doesn’t take much brain power to work out that extremists need the cover of their more moderate colleagues to survive in Oz. That doesn’t even work in the US in the longer term where the high tolerance of religious hardliners eventually falls apart as the Republicans can attest. When it can’t survive in such fertile ground in the US, it has Buckley’s in Australia.
The best outcome of course, is the Party learns that pushing things for your mates and asking low income families to foot the bill is not working at all well these days, and is hardly likely to work again until the memory of Tony Abbott has faded away. They also need to learn that keeping corrupt officials on board until the last minute like Brough and Co, costs you a lot of skin and when sitting members front up to ICAC, you are probably going to lose a few more. Fighting a By election because of court action is tough so it might be an idea to run some courses about ethical behavior to try and head of the worst of it.
The next lessons on the horizon
- The definition of Mandate. John Howard inflicted his redefining of the word to “I won the Election so you have to pass my legislation,” and to the great cost of the Aussie Democrats. He sucked in Meg Lees into not standing up for those who voted for the Democrats. (Me included). The reality is that Opposition members have a mandate to Oppose legislation their constituents don’t like. That’s why we have Opposition benches. Otherwise they would just sit back and do nothing. The arrogance of this next possible tactic is it’s greatest danger with folk having had a gut full of unfair rule changes. Sinodinos take note.
- Independent Senators are probably going to save Malcolm’s hide. In a bizarre turn around, the commitment to Malcolm personally, is one of the two things stopping him being punished by his party. The other is that the slim margin held by the Government, if it even manages that, could easily see them lose a by election in Wentworth if MT gets rolled and hits the exit.
In conclusion, over the years I have taken a lot of flack for my optimism for Aussie Democracy and often called out for being too positive. Actually the word most often used was naïve. I have to concede that when Tony Abbott managed to win against all logic with his continual back flips to suit the current audience, I was starting to wonder about the gullibility of the Voters. But the one gain from Tony is that we now recognise it DOES matter who you vote for and that difference can affect you and your children personally.
Suddenly we have real accountability and rising numbers of folk who demand better. It turns out that MBT’s failed effort to demolish accountability in the Senate has proven to be a great leap forward for better representation and accidentally woken us up to the power we hold in our own hands.
The Liberal Party seem like they may not have received the message yet, but the Voters have and they are the ones who count rather than someone who feels he was born to rule. If Malcolm thinks the job is too hard under the numbers we have given him, Voters aren’t so concerned with what he personally wants. I’m sure they would be happy for him to step aside and make way for someone who relishes the role.
We get to set the rules rather than follow the guidelines set down by MSM.