Wren's week: A new beginning

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Bill Shorten and Scott Morrison have delivered final addresses before election day (Screenshots via YouTube)

In this week's column, John Wren predicts some results from today's election while welcoming a change of Government.

Wren’s Week


TONIGHT IS THE NIGHT. This is a Saturday night that will feel like a liberation. All the signs are there now for a solid Labor victory. The polls have tightened a little as expected but Shorten and his team are coming home with wet sails and the wind behind them.

As the campaign has progressed, it’s become more and more obvious that the Liberals have no policies and even if they did, they’d have nobody competent to spruik them. It’s damning that Morrison has made himself the pied piper. To the extent that when he has done joint pressers with candidates, he’s not even let them speak when journalists have proffered questions to them. Nicole Flint (Boothby) and Melissa McIntosh (Lindsay) are two obvious victims of this. Both notably being female as well.

It’s a choice between a continuation of the Liberals’ incompetent bumbling of the economy and the top end of town rorting our tax system (even though his much vaunted “shoot from the hip”, first home-buyers subsidy has been exposed as a way for his banking donor mates to make more interest from debt-laden home-buyers) and Shorten’s Whitlam-esque vision for a happier, more socially cohesive and fairer Australia.

I mentioned the bookmakers last week as being better forecasters of the election result than the pollsters. Based on the Sportsbet odds today (midday Thursday 16 May), we will see the following result today;

  • Labor: 81 seats
  • Coalition: 62 seats
  • Greens: 1 seat
  • Others: 6 seats

With one seat in Queensland too close to call (Capricornia).

In NSW, the coalition will lose five seats – Cowper, Warringah and Farrer to Independents; Gilmore and Robertson to Labor. They should also pick up Lindsay (Emma Husar’s seat) and win back Wentworth from Independent Kerryn Phelps.

In Victoria, the Coalition will lose Chisholm, Corangamite, Dunkley and Latrobe to Labor. They will also pick up the new seat of Monash and Indi from the retiring independent Cathy McGowan. Labor will also pick up the other new seat of Cooper.

The Liberals will lose Hasluck, Stirling and Swan to Labor in WA, but will likely win back Braddon from Labor in Tasmania

In Queensland, Labor should win the seats of Dickson (Peter Dutton) and Petrie from the Liberals’ retiring Luke Howarth. The Coalition should win Herbert from Labor.

In desperation, this week we’ve also seen the Coalition try to turn the campaign back onto their supposed financial competence. This, too, is absurd. Any logical analysis of the last six years has seen a slowly unfolding economic catastrophe. The national debt has more than doubled and the deficit has tripled. Especially when one considers that in the first coalition budget (Joe Hockey’s) he promised a surplus the following year and one every year thereafter.

Clearly, the opposite has been achieved. Now, I have no particular issue building up debt while money is cheap, especially for infrastructure builds. This is what the Andrews Victoria State Labor Government has been doing, but the Federal Coalition Government has been borrowing and has nothing to show for it. Absolutely nothing. So where has the money gone? Good question. $800 million tax refund to Rupert Murdoch and unaccountable billions to Paladin and the Great Barrier Reef are good places to start looking. In my opinion, over the last six years, we have simply witnessed institutional theft on a grand scale.

The ABS also revealed today that wages have been stagnant for nine months and the unemployment rate jumped from 5% to 5.2%. Further evidence that our economy is in trouble.

Yesterday, I heard Morrison tell voters to vote Liberal to “pay off the debt inherited from Labor”. This is just nuts. The previous Labor Government inherited debt from the Howard Government, then had the GFC to contend with. Since taking office, the Libs have doubled the debt they inherited. He is a man who will take no responsibility for anything. It will be interesting to see if he takes responsibility for the carnage that’s about to be wreaked on the Liberal Party today. Methinks not.

We've heard the revelation that the Government had done a secret deal with the USA to take two known Rwandan murderers from their detention centres as part of the exchange that the Turnbull Government negotiated for Nauru refugees to be resettled in America. This is a horrendous story, given that for years we have heard Dutton and Morrison and other Liberals warn that Labor was going to flood the country with “rapists, murderers and paedophiles” (a debased lie given that they are deliberately trying to make Australians afraid of refugees).

These claims have been debunked numerous times. Today we learned that they knowingly allowed them to settle in Australia themselves. No wonder Dutton was warning us all about “violent African gangs”. He was importing them himself. This story has only just broken today so it will be an interesting one to watch — stay tuned.

As I type this, Shorten has presented a stirring speech as his final crescendo of the campaign. It was visionary and borrowed heavily on another past Labor luminary, the late, great Gough Whitlam. Shorten has laid out a clear, bold and deliverable vision for a new Australia. An Australia that looks after its own, is a responsible global citizen, a nation that embraces its diversity and treats each other with respect. A nation where once again, our youthful backpackers will be proud to sew the flag onto their backpacks as they board their flights to Europe. A nation where our elderly are cared for and our young have meaningful futures. This is the Australia I signed up for when I became a citizen 20 years ago. I loathe what our once great nation could become if the Government is returned.

I’ll see you on the hustings. Next week will be a new beginning. A victory for all the true believers out there.

You can sign the petition to have John Wren reinstated on Twitter here.

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