July 04, 2016

Horse 2132 - Election 2016: Australia Is Doubly-Disillusioned With The Lack Of Results

Ha ha ha, hee hee hee, and a couple of tra la Las,
It's fun to have no government in The Merry Old Land Of Oz.

The morning after the night before, in this the International Year of The Howling Moron, the country woke up and found that no-one was in charge and nobody really minded. As a nation we can eat Milo right out of the tin and no-one is going to stop us.
The Labor Party ran a campaign based on the premise that the Coalition would privatise Medicare and the Coalition have spent most of the past fortnight explicitly denying it, calling the Labor Party a pack of liars despite the fact that they'd already privatised Medibank Private and had plans to introduce co-payments.
Meanwhile, the Coalition's campaign revolved around the idea of stability despite the fact that just like the Labor Party, they'd rolled a sitting Prime Minister. They also promised to get rid of three word slogans by introducing the three word slogan of "Jobs and Growth".

In response to the most drawn out election campaign in Australian political history, triggered by a reason which everyone has forgotten about, fought by the most boring leaders in a generation (which is either a good or bad thing depending on how you want to argue it), the people of Australia have spoken. Instead of in 2010 where we weren't sure of what they'd said, this time around the message is loud and clear. Both sides of the political divide are on the nose and have failed to do their most fundamental of jobs - representing the electorate in a representative democracy.

We've seen a chewing out of the libertarian left as people have voted for those parties who want to legalise everything. We've seen a chewing out of the authoritarian right as people have voted for nativist and downright racist parties. We've seen an increase in the vote for statist parties who favour more government intervention in the economy. We've seen an increase in the vote for lassaisfaire parties who favour less and even no government intervention in the economy.

This election more than any other that I've ever seen, is proof that compulsory preferential voting is not only a good thing but desirable. If government derives its legitimacy only through the consent of the people and they can signal that they are angry with the choices set before them, then I think that this is a demonstrably better system than say the UK or the US where even if you do express anger or disappointment with what's on offer, you have zero real chance of changing the national discussion.
It makes perfect sense that before the election, the Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull was calling for people to vote for a majority Coalition Government. Of course as Prime Minister of said government, his personal interest in such a thing couldn't be on display more obviously. What the Australian people have said though, is that they have had enough of the two major parties talking past each other and want the whole parliament to do that old fashioned, unfashionable and almost forgotten thing of actually listening to the electorate.
Yet again Queensland has all decided to run to the same side of the plane, as that state has lurched away from Palmer United and back to Pauline Hanson's One Nation Party. The roughly 9% of first preferences that Palmer United picked up in 2013, appears to have all shifted as a giant block.

If the Coalition are returned to government, they almost certainly will have zero chance of passing the ABCC legisation, which is what triggered the double dissolution in the first place. Malcolm Turnbull will have the unenviable job of holding together the broad church of the Liberal Party before it turns nasty and tears itself to pieces.
If Labor loses, then the rules adopted in 2013 provide that another leadership spill would happen but given the bloodletting that happened before that election, even though someone like Anthony Albanese probably would have the numbers to mount a challenge, is that even likely?

The fact that we've had no Independents at all even hint that they would even support either side in matters of supply and thus the ability to form government, if someone does manage to cobble together some sort of minority government then they face the threat of every single day in the chamber being a potential for a no confidence vote. There is the rather obvious thought that the Coalition and Labor could form a Unity Government; which I suppose would make someone like Bob Katter as the official Leader of the Opposition in an opposition of about five members but that's about as likely as Old Harry Lucifer being elected as the MP for the Division of Lingiari and ice skating to work.

Some pundits are already calling this "Voter Rage" in this the Year Of The Howling Moron but I think that it's far more nuanced than that. After 24 years of just three Prime Ministers talking down to the electorate, the past decade has been a period where the electorate has said "please listen to us" but the political class has turned inwards and on itself; where there is no listening being done at all. When the people feel that they are not being listened to, they tend to speak up at the ballot box. I think that this election more than any other has been one where the people have spoken and the message is writ large, loud and proud, in tiny little pencilled numbers.

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