Hot Take: Electoral Shock and Awe in Australia

 

G’day from your friendly neighborhood Yank Down Under.

Australia went to the polls yesterday, and the result has the pundits in shock this morning. A Labor Party victory was widely expected after polls had indicated for well over a year that the country had soured on the right-leaning Liberal Party (yes, we’re talking classical liberalism Down Under) coalition. Conventional wisdom seemed to have coalesced around the idea that this was a change election. Not so much, it turned out.

Incumbent Prime Minister Scott Morrison was also thought to be burdened by the collective disgust of voters tired of the constant drama of leadership “spills” which had produced six different prime ministers since 2007, and most recently last August when Morrison emerged from the Liberal tussle that saw previous PM Malcolm Turnbull pushed aside by a party nervous about this very election. While it is true most Australians are embarrassed about these palace coups, it is also true that once the deed was done, “ScoMo” pulled out the upset.

So here’s what the shocked pundits are saying this morning: Labor went too hard after “change”, including climate change, which was a big issue for them. Liberals were able to cast Labor’s agenda into a threat to jobs and pocketbooks. While urban Australians are quite progressive on many social and environmental issues (they overwhelming chose to allow same-sex marriage in a 2017 national referendum, for example), Australia’s economy has been very much dependent on the export of raw materials. They are therefore put in the strange situation of feeling queasy about using their own fossil fuels and minerals, but accepting that they need to keep digging big mines and shipping coal and iron ore off to China.

So the bottom line is that Australia will continue to have a center-right government led by an Evangelical conservative, and the pundits and pollsters will spend the next three years trying to figure out how they missed it.

Published in Elections
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There are 11 comments.

  1. Arahant Member

    Jailer: So the bottom line is that Australia will continue to have a center-right government led by an Evangelical conservative, and the pundits and pollsters will spend the next three years trying to figure out how they missed it.

    It must have been Russian collusion. 😜

    • #1
    • May 18, 2019, at 3:30 PM PDT
    • 17 likes
  2. RushBabe49 Thatcher

    Instead of trying to overthrow it?

    • #2
    • May 18, 2019, at 3:35 PM PDT
    • 6 likes
  3. Arahant Member

    RushBabe49 (View Comment):

    Instead of trying to overthrow it?

    Maybe the Aussie press is not as enlightened as ours.

    • #3
    • May 18, 2019, at 3:36 PM PDT
    • 5 likes
  4. JustmeinAZ Member

    Tee hee!

    • #4
    • May 18, 2019, at 6:18 PM PDT
    • Like
  5. DonG Coolidge

    Wonderful! Perhaps the Brit will take their country back and we can get the 5-eyes moving in the Right direction. Justin, you’re on deck.

    • #5
    • May 18, 2019, at 6:31 PM PDT
    • 1 like
  6. Keith Rice Member

    The Australian Leftists have overplayed their hand as they have in the US, their barely veiled hunger for power has revealed their claims to moral superiority as suspect as they dismantle fundamental social and legal institutions for the remaking of the culture. More and more people are noticing and others are being alienated. 

    A few years back the Left decided to (once again) blame conservatives for one of their own flaws: Being divisive. 

    Numerous times I had to correct this lie with the simple and obvious truth: Leftism is inherently divisive as it demands immediate and pervasive compliance to its newly minted standards, conservatism on the other hand is more about maintaining traditional successes and wisdom. The former is a clarion call to the disaffected and malcontents, the latter for those thankful for what they have.

    This doesn’t mean that the latter can’t appreciate those not content, it continues to try to bring them into the fold.

    • #6
    • May 18, 2019, at 7:14 PM PDT
    • 9 likes
  7. dnewlander Member

    The Coalition may have taken Federal Parliament, but doesn’t Labor still run all of the states?

    I find Australian politics to be fairly bipolar.

    Even in Queensland.

    • #7
    • May 18, 2019, at 11:44 PM PDT
    • Like
  8. Mim526 Member

    According to a list of Aussie slang on the internet, a good response to this news would be “Good onya, Australia” or “Ace!” Although “bonzer” has a certain ring of fabulousness….

    • #8
    • May 19, 2019, at 6:35 AM PDT
    • 2 likes
  9. JamesSalerno Coolidge

    Keep on rockin, Australia!

    • #9
    • May 19, 2019, at 8:54 PM PDT
    • Like
  10. Zafar Member

    dnewlander (View Comment):

    The Coalition may have taken Federal Parliament, but doesn’t Labor still run all of the states?

    I find Australian politics to be fairly bipolar.

    Even in Queensland.

    Tasmania, NSW and South Australia have Liberal Govts; Western Australia, Victoria, Queensland and Northern Territory have Labor Govts. About 50:50.

    But things are likely to change, especially in Queensland over the next 12 months.

    Edit: Liberal Govts generally means Liberal-National Coalition Govts. Nationals are the former Country Party, basically agrarian populists.

    • #10
    • May 20, 2019, at 5:18 AM PDT
    • 2 likes
  11. Percival Thatcher

    The dogs aren’t eating the climate change dog food, and I don’t think bigger bowls are the answer. 

    Gonna need a new drum to beat.

    • #11
    • May 20, 2019, at 5:59 AM PDT
    • 3 likes