After years of fighting within their own party and no stable leadership, reasons behind the LNP's low popularity have never been more obvious, writes Tarric Brooker.
AS THE CLOCK TICKS DOWN to the next Federal Election, now less than three months away, the Coalition is on the cusp of achieving a milestone no government or political party could ever possibly desire — 50 Newspoll losses in a row.
There is no one reason why the Coalition is struggling in the polls, there is a number of them depending on who you ask, ranging from poorly conceived thought bubbles being trotted out as policy to the consistently simmering infighting the party has endured ever since Malcolm Turnbull brought about the end of Tony Abbott’s Prime Ministership.
Whatever the reasons may be, the writing is well and truly on the wall for the Liberal Party room as key figures of the Government’s leadership team continue to bow out of politics, much to the detriment of a party that faces the potential of even further losses of strong political talent come election day.
With polling for the seats of Treasurer Josh Frydenberg, Health Minister Greg Hunt and Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton showing the incumbents lagging behind, the current exodus of talented ministers may be only the beginning of the woes of the shrinking ranks of the Coalition’s leadership.
Sixty per cent of voters support medevac bill, GetUp poll finds #Warringah seat poll shows Abbott losing TPP 43-57#Dickson seat poll shows Dutton losing TPP 48-52 https://t.co/kJmWVjENO8 #auspol seat polling has a big margin of error, so treat with caution— Leroy (@Leroy_Lynch) February 23, 2019
After six years of an LNP Government, which has been a complete departure from the traditional stability of Coalition governments of the past, the public is increasingly frustrated by a lack of a meaningful vision for the future beyond a poorly thought out climate change policy and defending tax concessions for property investors.
In talking with voters about the Government, there have been questions on everyone’s lips ever since Tony Abbott was removed from the Lodge — what does Malcolm Turnbull/Scott Morrison stand for? What is their vision for the future of our country?
Despite almost three-and-a-half years in government, the Turnbull/Morrison team has never provided a sufficiently satisfactory answer for the Australian public to get behind, as concerns about falling living standards and the future prosperity of our country continue to mount within our nations collective consciousness.
This lack of vision is just one side of the coin the Coalition has used to double down on three-word slogans and putting the word tax after every policy that Labor proposes. On the other side is the ascendancy of the ideology of the Right wing of the Liberal Party.
Unlike in the past, when the “broad church” agreement uniting moderates and more Right-wing members of the Coalition was in effect, the LNP Right has effectively won control over the future direction of the party.
This is perhaps best exemplified by the final ballot of the August leadership spill which saw Scott Morrison gain the Prime Ministership. Rather than being a battle between candidates from the two opposing wings of the Liberal Party, it was a battle between Right (Morrison) and even further Right (Peter Dutton).
“I don’t understand his (Senator Cormann’s) motives in seeking to change the leadership to Peter Dutton last year,” Ms Bishop said.— James Downing (@JamesDo73601186) March 2, 2019
“You still wish he would explain his motives in backing Peter Dutton over Malcolm Turnbull and causing enormous instability within..."
One can imagine that the leadership ballot rammed home exactly how out of place more moderate members of the Liberal Party now were, as the ostensibly small-L Liberal Government of Malcolm Turnbull was removed in favour of one underpinned by heavily Right-wing principles.
It's perhaps no coincidence that some of the most prominent members of the Liberal Party exodus are members of what is left of the moderate faction of the Liberal Party, including Christopher Pyne, Julie Bishop and Kelly O’Dwyer.
At the core of all the turmoil within the Liberal Party, there is one basic truth they are seemingly yet to realise — they are profoundly out of touch with the ideals and sensibilities of the modern Australian electorate. One struggles to find any other reason why any politician who can read a poll could possibly consider replacing Malcolm Turnbull with a publicly unpopular figure like Peter Dutton.
Instead of learning the lessons of unity taught by the Howard Government, the Coalition ignored them in favour of factional battles and settling personal scores, they had the recipe for success and they threw it all away.
Tarric Brooker is a freelance journalist and political commentator. You can follow him on Twitter @AvidCommentator.
It is going to be hilarious when @PeterDutton_MP and @TonyAbbottMHR, after years of pushing the Liberal right agenda, are going to be left with a purely reactionary 1940s LNP party... only they wont be a part of it once they lose their seats. Classic.— Progressive.Idealist (@Progressivist90) March 2, 2019
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