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Federal Election Campaign: The Morning After

Well, it seems my seat predictions were a little off. In my defense I simply followed what both the bookmakers and opinion polls were saying, which was Labor to win c85 seats. As it turns out, the polls over-estimated the Labor vote by about 4% and under-estimated the LNP vote by about 3%, the sum of which is quite significant. I did express concerns about Queensland and, grimly, they turned out to be correct and worse. The 11% vote for One Nation and Palmer, who directed preferences to the LNP, now means that the ALP holds 5 of the 29 seats there, and with no change seen in WA. Pretty grimly ironic for those two states given that real wages have declined in both of them for the past four years. You can bet that Palmer and One Nation will be telling the Morrison government what they want; lower wages and less migration - and the LNP will deliver.

You know how it is; there's still an extraordinary myth perpetuated by some very wealthy men (almost invariably men) who receive the benefits that the LNP are good economic managers, and many people buy iy thinking "Well, they have so much money, they must be good at managing it". Then a few months later they say "Why am I broke again?", and they read the Murdoch press and say "It must be those immigrants!". Impressively, the LNP also managed to paint Labor as a "class warfare" party, when they are the party that has been running a relentless class war - the difference is, of course, is their class is winning.

I expect the existing "competence" of the government to continue. Having already doubled the net government debt, we will see it continue to increase. The $77bn in tax cuts for those earning $180K+ per annum, will be delivered. As they promised on the second-last day of the campaign they will deliver an additional $1.5bn in public service cuts. I expect the transfer of wealth from the poor to the rich to continue; especially through the negative gearing and dividend imputation tax rorts that we've let stay in place, and wages to flatline. Expect the dodgy government contracts with LNP donors to continue the transfer of taxpayers funds to their mates to continue. Expect Australia to have a declining level of gender equity. Expect Australia to have the dubious honour of being a per-capita leader in greenhouse gas emissions as well, with the failures on the Murray-Darling to continue, along with the bleaching of the Great Barrier Reef.

As I mentioned previously, Labor took a very brave position coming into this election with a big agenda. It was contrary to the conventional wisdom that governments lose rather than oppositions win, and Labor has paid the cost of being honest, whereas the Coalition has engaged in the most deceptive campaign of fear, uncertainty, and doubt, in contemporary political history, underlining the need for advertising standards in election campaigns. It's hard to counter scare campaigns where such dishonestly is legal, and Labor's emphasis on the future did little to remind voters of the behaviour of this government's past behaviour. Democracy relies on people actually knowing what they are voting for, as the Brexit referendum illustrated. Otherwise they will choose fear over hope and the present over the future. An opportunity for a better Australia yesterday was squandered by fear and mendacity, and not for the first time. Remember what the NBN was going to be? Remember how we missed out on $90 bn in mining tax revenue? Yeah, well, we lost those as well.

So where to from here?

I've given one suggestion already, about the need for truth in political advertising. No matter who does it, I can't bring myself to support the idea that the cynical and deceptive manipulation of the voting public should be considered just an acceptable part of the electoral game.

Secondly, I think Labor needs to simplify its message; "we fund infrastructure, we oppose rent-seeking, we look after the disadvantaged". Everything should come down to those core principles, each and every time. The LNP had a simple policy of opposition to Labor's changes, and the ALP was bogged down in defending it in detail. It's not the "big picture" that the ALP had wrong in this regard, but the complexity of the picture, which frankly is beyond all but the boffins and political tragics.

Thirdly, and I've been banging on about this for years now, a Labor-Green electoral alliance. It is a ridiculous waste of resources when the two parties compete against each other because only the Coalition wins in such a money-burning game.

Finally, and here's one for the Greens, stop targetting individual projects. Yes, it worked against the Franklin dam, but that was in 1983, but it doesn't work now. Targetting Adani was the wrong idea - Capricornia Liberal MP Michelle Landry even congratulated the Adani protestors for delivering her the swing. The policy for new renewable jobs was the one that should have been emphasised. The ALP lost in QLD because of jobs, because working people there are poor and getting poorer. Everything should have been about "new jobs with higher wages", which just so happen to be in renewables.

Overall, however, strap yourselves in. It's going to be an awful next three years with the mad evangelists, vile racists, and the incompetent blue-bloods in control, and we're going to have to fight them every day. It's one thousand days until we have a better Australia.

Commenting on this Blog entry will be automatically closed on July 19, 2019.


The day of the election had some colourful moments.

A Tony Abbott volunteer was stabbed by an 62-year old man accusing him of being a "paedophile supporter". I suspect there's a story there.

Fraudulent How-to-Vote cards were handed out suggesting that Greens voters should preference Peter Dutton

Sarah Hanson has received multiple packets of "suspicious white powder"

Pauline Hanson blames leftists for setting a campaign truck alight..

... turns out it was a discarded cigarette.

Palmer and Hanson's preferences are responsible for the Coalition's win

The Electoral Commission found 87 counts of advertisements breaching electoral law.. and is not acting on any of them.

Cheating was particularly prevalent by the Liberals in Chisolm

The Sunshine Coast advocates assassination...