There was a chill in the air last night when I walked out the door, and the comforting tang of woodsmoke. It was quiet, peaceful. The sun had just set, leaving – for the moment – a fiery golden line on the western horizon. I walked down the street to collect my take-away Thai rugged up in a fur lined leather jacket, well aware of the moment and the gravity before us in the night ahead. I returned home to watch it unfold.
Long story short, we won. By we, I mean the people of Australia, and I think that’s probably true regardless of who you voted for. Gone is the government demonstrably corrupt and generally out of touch. It was a government of mediocre talent that achieved remarkably little of note through its tenure. They leave us worse off than when they began. They quadrupled our debt and have left nothing to show for it. Heavy industry has gone, and we have more holes in the ground. It was a government that narrowed our moral and ethical horizons and put self interest above the greater good. It was a dirty, incompetent government lead by a dirty, incompetent prime minister.
Now they are gone.
Just as I have for many years, I sat before my tv and watched as the story unfolded seat by seat. The two big stories of the night are the utter decimation of the Liberal party, and the irresistible rise of the independents. They add up to a change in government and a new PM – Anthony Albanese.
I feel we are witnessing a watershed moment in Australian politics. The Liberal party are on their way to irrelevance unless they change their ways. Judging by the post election commentary, the solution is to move further to the right. That defies logic and sense. They lost because they abandoned the moderate heartland of the Liberal party of old, leaving it to the independents to fill the void.
There’s nothing to the right for them except further irrelevance. It’s a cold, harsh and meaningless wasteland. It doesn’t work in Australia. Leave it to the nutters.
I wrote when Turnbull was deposed that I could see the Liberal party splintering because of the nonsensical conservative push within the party. In a sense, that has happened. There are few remaining Liberal moderates remaining after yesterday. The true moderates are wearing teal. The remaining members are grouchy conservatives, partnered with a National Party conservative by nature, but unable to ever claim power in their own right. After this, the LNP have become fringe. They won’t ever reclaim power until they broaden their church again, or if.
What this election tells us is that there’s a split between metropolitan and country Australia and, more roughly, a divide between north and south. Labor hold the cities more or less. Once their constituency was the working class; now it’s the educated professional class.
The outer suburbs trend more conservative the further you get out, right into the bush, we’re the National party holds sway for the most part. That’s true for North Queensland as well, and anywhere with a latitude above Brisbane.
Queensland has always been a strong bastion of LNP support, but surprisingly the Greens took some seats from them in Brisbane and in the south of the state.
Then there the independents. I think they’re a great thing. I think democracy thrives on diversity and questions being asked of the ruling power. By all appearances the independents- all women – are an outstanding bunch of candidates. They’re high achievers in life who are grounded in experience without the burden of overweening ego. I expect them to be reasonable and to push strongly for a fairer society better equipped to address the issues we face today. I voted for one, and she got up.
The big issue is climate change, and was a central point of difference between the Liberal government and the Labor party and independents campaigning against them. It will be priority number one with the new government, supported by the independent and Greens. I expect a bold and ambitious plan.
The other popular policy is regarding integrity in politics, aka corruption. There’s strong support to do something about that also, and it appears we’ll have a federal integrity commission before too long. This is big. I know, I don’t want to see or hear from Morrison again, until he appears in the dock before a federal ICAC. They’ll be selling tickets for that.
The cost of living and the economy generally are big issues, but harder to address. We’re buffeted by world events and have been saddled with public debt of about a trillion dollars. It’s an amazing amount when you consider nothing has been built or created from the 800 billion the LNP government added to it.
Debt must be managed, as must cost of living and housing affordability. The fortunate thing is that we have the best qualified treasurer for many years assume the position in Jim Chalmers. He’s a deeply impressive person and will be prime minister one day, in my opinion.
There are myriad other challenges. It won’t be easy. I think I speak for many Australians though when I say I fell I can breathe again. It’s like a dark cloud that has hovered above us for years has finally cleared. I can begin to hope again, and maybe begin to feel some pride once more that I’m an Aussie.