Politics Analysis

All traces of Liberal blue wiped off mainland

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(Cartoon by Mark David / @MDavidCartoons)

Australian voters have collectively risen up and overthrown practically all traces of blue from the mainland, including in five states, two territories and at the federal level, with Tasmania now the solo Lib state.

It’s a significant political coup for the Australian Labor Party and a monumental rejection for the Coalition parties. It is also a proverbial finger to the Murdoch-led mainstream media obsession with all things conservative.

Perhaps predictably, Right-wing forces everywhere have blamed the Teal independents, the weather and everything in between. Some Right-wing intellectual giants even blame NSW's electoral loss on former Treasurer Matt Kean, for daring to mention renewable energy options.

Reflecting on the humiliating defeat suffered by his party at Saturday's State Election, the not Loony-Right-enough Kean lamented the Coalition’s inability to clearly communicate its message, rather than the fact that Australia is just over the actual archaic message itself.

But anyone who is not in the Liberal or National parties, or in their cheerleading mainstream media club, can see that Australia is simply changing.

Australians have woken up to the devastating realities of climate change — often through first-hand experience.

We are appalled at the draconian, misogynistic ways of the previous Federal Government, its racist policies and the relentless cruelty inflicted on our Indigenous population, asylum seekers, whistleblowers, the LGBTI+ community and the otherwise vulnerable.

We are cognizant of the deep divisions caused by neoliberalism and its mandatory worship of profit at any cost. The corrupt, matey nepotism of scandals such as sports rorts, the stark hardship emanating from privatisation and the cold-hearted horrors inflicted by Robodebt have left us nauseated, spent, and determined to see they are not repeated.

It has been a long, hard ten years under Federal Coalition rule, punctuated by a global pandemic, which the former Prime Minister, Scott Morrison, attempted to ignore.

His efforts to inflict his own brand of religious dogma on our secular nation left many of us cold.

But Morrison's blatant refusal to hold any minister to account, no matter how corrupt or inept, culminated with his own stealthy plan to create a one-man dictatorship by infiltrating every position of power – one secretly acquired ministry at a time – was perhaps the final wake-up call for Australians everywhere.

There is no doubt that, while many state iterations shared some or all of the characteristics of their Federal conservative counterpart, the sheer scale upon which the Morrison Government transformed the Coalition, shifting it further and further towards the Loony Right – aided and abetted by the mainstream media club every cold and unforgiving step of the way – reverberated among voters at every level.

It has resulted in a Liberal Party that is simply unrecognisable from that once led by Malcolm Fraser and Dr John Hewson. And it has left a gaping hole in the centre, forever doing away with any trace of small ‘l’ Liberal from the equation. In today's Liberal Party, just admitting the scientific fact of climate change earns you the label of "moderate".

The electoral defeat of the Liberal and National parties across the nation in eight of nine elections illustrates that we are not prepared to risk a repeat of the above any time soon.

Australia has spoken.

Regrettably, for the Coalition parties, our message fell on deaf ears.

This is evinced by the rise of Peter Dutton to lead the Federal Opposition. It is obvious by the installation of Matthew Guy as Opposition Leader in the recent Victorian State Election – a man with a shady past who cosied up to anti-vaxxers and Far-Loony-Right extremists. This led to an inevitable second spectacular defeat, more humiliating than the party's previous loss to Labor Premier Dan Andrews — a man attacked by the feral Right-wing media at every turn.

Albanese's 2022 victory was a healthy win and not, as the media kept insisting it would be, in the form of a minority government.

In New South Wales, the latest state to turn red, the extent of Labor-held seats is yet to be decided. But after 12 years of a Coalition Government mired by scandal and corruption, the choice of Dominic Perrottet as Liberal Leader to replace the disgraced Gladys Berejiklian was hardly a progressive move. Among other decidedly regressive stances, Perrottet mocked what he termed “almost religious devotion of the political left to climate change” and remained firmly opposed to abortion and gay marriage.

And despite the spectacular annihilation of the Liberals in WA and comprehensive Labor victories in all other states and territories (except Tasmania), the same old climate-denying, fear-mongering, "go-further-right" mantra remains.

This shouldn't be seen as any solace to Labor, however, as the Green vote and Teal revolution have seen a general decline in the primary vote for both major parties. This indicates that far from wishing for more Loony Right insanity, Australians crave sweeping change. Certainly, there is a long list of inequalities and institutionalised stagnation that needs overhauling.

Far from listening to Australian voters, the Liberal Party is a runaway train speeding towards the furthest Loony Right political cliff on its mission to maintain the long-outdated status quo. This does not appear to be a sustainable position and may well see it in electoral oblivion for many years to come.

But it will be interesting to see how much the Federal Labor Party has been listening. Early indications are inconclusive. There have certainly been some welcome progressive moves in the areas of climate change and Indigenous recognition, for example. However, the continuation of conservative policies on matters such as AUKUS and tax cuts for the wealthy, have left some misgivings in a nation keen to see the back of this long-held Coalition legacy.

Australia has spoken. It is now up to politicians blue, red, green, teal or otherwise, to heed the message.

This editorial was originally published as part of the Independent Australia weekly newsletter – usually only available to subscribers – and may be read online in the IA members-only area.

You can follow managing editor Michelle Pini on Twitter @vmp9. Follow Independent Australia on Twitter @independentaus and on Facebook HERE.

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