Monday, May 20, 2019

Monday Forum - Australia's voted!

I'm still absorbing the election results. What do you think it all means?

As always, feel free to go in any direction (or topic) you want!

Update 21 May 2019

Since discussion is very quiet here, I thought that I would share with you a few short observations on the election. I was going to hold this off pending discussion, but since things are so quiet I will proceed.

When I wrote in February just before the election was called I suggested that there was likely to be a very substantial Labor victory. While things were tightening at the end, I still thought that a Labor victory.was pretty certain. I was not alone in that view. As an analyst, I did place some weight on the polls because they are one reasonably objective measurement, although I have always been aware of the importance of regional variation. In this case, I would have been better off relying on my more subjective feelings based on qualitative material.

Although it's not been discussed, I think that the polls did affect the results. I know that they had some impact on my vote. Expecting a Labor win but concerned that the Coalition parties might be decimated, I did not see this as healthy, I actually voted Liberal in the House of Representatives for the first and probably only time in my life. There, that's a confession. I'm probably not alone.

Over the election, I listened or read the media commentary and reporting. I also followed the social media feeds, if in a somewhat eclectic fashion. I say eclectic because you have my Facebook friends, the various Facebook groups or pages I like  plus the 208 or so people or news outlets I follow on Twitter. And then you have all the retweets and FB repeats. In this you do have a bias towards particular areas and causes including, not surprisingly, a strong New England cohort. But it is much broader than that.

I suppose that the first thing I would say here is that this was a nasty campaign across a number of dimensions. I am not talking so much about negative campaigning by major parties, but the personal attacks that appeared on line. It also had a real bubble feel in that people were clearly talking like to like, assuming that their views were self-evidently right in moral terms. In so doing, they became more convinced, as well as distracted from what might be happening outside their bubble.

I will use the New England campaign to illustrate. Among the candidates I especially followed Adam Blakester (Independent) and Yvonne Langenberg (Labor). I did see some material from Barnaby Joyce (National Party) but wasn't especially following him because I was interested in his competitors and the impact they might have.

The material from Adam or Yvonne or  Rob Oakeshott (Independent, Cowper),  Fiona Leviny (Independent Page) or Nanette Radeck (Katter's Australian Party) was generally issue and campaign focused. And, yes, I did have a particular focus on independents and minor parties. The nastiness I saw came especially from supporters surrounding the campaigns.

 It was perhaps most virulent in New England. Apart from being wearing, I thought that it was distracting.  At one point former member Tony Windsor tweeted; "Gina has opened the cheque book in New England ...The adulterer and Clive Palmer dominating TV ads ...the Independent @adamblakester with a much lower budget but the best ads ...honest , ethical  and integrity his theme." I tweeted in reply: "Tony, this is over the top." Tony replied: "The standard you walk past is the standard you accept Jim . Family values , sanctity of marriage etc , you recall all that nonsense Jim or have you forgotten . If that’s what floats your boat then you have a chance to vote for it".

I was annoyed with myself because I know the back story. including the bitterness between Mr Joyce and Mr Windsor. A little earlier, they had traded tweets threatening legal action against each other. I wanted Mr Windsor to cool it because the attacks on Mr Joyce from he and others were draining the oxygen out of Mr Blakester's campaign. I should have phrased it better, instead adding my own kerosene to the the end, Mr Joyce had a very clear victory, in part because of the reaction of people to the negative campaigning.   

 It's not easy mounting an independent or small party campaign because of the time it takes to build supporting infrastructure. This election was made more complicated because of the multiplicity of parties on the centre right and right.

I followed  school teacher Nanette Radeck's campaign in Herbert over several months  I was interested in her because she had been drawn into politics because she supported self-government for North Queensland. It was clear that she had charisma and was running a solid campaign, if below the radar because of the obsession with One Nation and Clive Palmer. She got no external media coverage until late in the campaign when she was suddenly picked up in the polling.

Nanette had no chance of winning Herbert because of the multiplicity of parties splitting the vote. The six right, centre right minor party candidates in Herbert scored some 28.5 per cent of the vote, but preferences from One Nation and the United Australia Party delivered the seat to the Liberal National Party. On the votes, Nanette could not have won, but the number of candidates made it much harder for her.

One thing about the vote is the way it revealed a gradient from the inner city areas through outer city and regional. The existence of the gradient cam as no surprise, although it was a little larger than I expected. This was a particular problem for Labor. It was caught along several dimensions. It had to balance the need to defend electorates from the Greens. It was caught between the views .of its progressive wing and its traditional working class base. It was also suffering from the need to sell a complex set of policies in a centralised way provided limited room for localisation or local focus.

I think Yvonne's campaign in New England suffered from. One example was the move of the APVMA (Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicine Authority) headquarters to Armidale, something which had become a major external issue, playing into the narrative against Mr Joyce. She hoped that it would be retained, but could not provide any guarantee or offer an alternative development option. I suspect that the need for a university campus might be a second example.

One side effect of all this has been the sudden campaign by senior Labor frontbencher .Joel Fitgibbon for Labor to increase its focus on the regions and on its core working class base.

Mr Fitgibbon had a nasty shock this election when his ultra safe Labor coal mining and agricultural seat of Hunter suddenly swung against him. He will hold the seat, but he saw his vote decline by 14.1 per cent, with the One Nation candidate scoring 21.8 per cent.

This has become a longer note than I intended, but I want to finish with a brief note on the National Party results. Prior to the election there was a fair bit of commentary about the tensions between the Nationals and Liberal Party over issues such as coal mining. There were also problems with water and the Murray Darling Basin and apparent leadership tensions within the Party The return of the independents and the rise of the minor parties were much discussed as threats. There was almost an expectation that the Nationals might be reduced to a rump.          .

.In the end, the Nationals held all their seats. I think that there a number of reasons for this, including failures in the independent campaigns, something I might come back to later. For the moment, I just wonder if the greater freedom of National party members to campaign on local issues might not be one of the reasons for the Party's apparent success.     


Anonymous said...

How many individual comments are allowed?

Anyway, enuff fricking about, being overly polite - let's cut to the chase:


Jim Belshaw said...

As many comments as you like, kvd! That lonk took me to two videos, one Conan the Barbarian, the second a Game of Thrown's piece on the Starks. Now which one should I respond too?!

Mary B said...

If we can go beyond the insulated “Bubble” of Political Correctness”, “Identity Politics” and the pollster/opinion poll . . . THIS is the real reason behind the 2019 ALP defeat:

The "Sweetest Victory of them ALL" . . . was the electorate's endorsement of Peter Dutton's Immigration and Border Protection policies, followed closely by the utter repudiation of the "Ayer's Rock Statement from the Heart" which heralded pure Satanic criminal Constitutional Subversion of Federation Australia by and on behalf of Australia's Aborigines. . . . All this DESPITE the energy and resources of GetUp!. In the re-election of Dutton, Fraser Anning has been vindicated.

The ALP's planned destruction of Federation Australia - White, British & Judaeo-Christian - has been stopped in its tracks by this election result. And will be shortly sent into supersonic reverse. Expect a purge of the treasonous ALP-Greens ACARA Education curriculum to follow shortly.

Its obsessions with Aboriginals and Aboriginality will be replaced by a Menzies-era praise of White Anglo Australia and its triumph in a strange land with inverted seasons down-under;

its obsessions over Asia (and thus all non-White "civilizations") will be replaced by a totally Euro-Centric Christian focus, glorifying White Western Christian Civilization as the superior civilization for all time worldwide (think the Ramsay Centre) - including its defence of the Gender-Binary against Gender fluidity and Drag Queen Storytime.

Its focus on Sustainability will be re-written to defend White-Anglo Agriculture in Regional Australia against the depradations that the Inner-City Greens would impose upon it.

If the State Schools don’t ditch their hatred for Christianity, they are on track for closure, and their facilities turned over to a management committee composed SOLELY of the local Christian Minister’s Fraternal. We MUST remember that in colonial times, the Churches only turned the financing and operation of their schools over to the State on the condition that their social studies curriculum was non-denominational Christianity and nothing else. That continued until the Whitlam regime who, with Lionel Murphy, declared a war-to-the death on Christianity.

That betrayal violated the colonial era agreement, and laid open the right of the Minister’s Fraternal to commandeer the curriculum and restore Christian and pro-Christian content to it. Any State resistance thereto would invalidate the State right to operate schools at all.

THAT is what Queensland wanted and voted for. THAT is what the whole nation will get. And not before time. Forget your economic obsessions about Clive Palmer and coal, THIS is what swung Queensland so strongly against the ALP.

In addition, ScoMo’s Pentecostal Christianity resonated strongly in Queensland . . . which has an extraordinarily high concentration in Queensland - higher per-capita than anywhere else nationwide. Queensland also has the highest concentration of Presbyterians who refused Church Union in 1977 with the new Uniting Church - these remaining Presbyterians are also highly conservative.

Followed closely by a high concentration of Lutherans who are also strongly conservative - especially in Queensland - think Sir Joh Bjelke Petersen. The Roman Catholics are also far more conservative in Queensland than they are in Melbourne.

In this Election, conservative Christianity has made its voice heard in a powerful way. It will NOT be silenced anymore by the anti-Christian Left - especially by the Greens. It will reassert its God-given right to being the Official “State Religion” in Australia - without of course specifying which Denomination within Christianity held that honour - in accordance with s116 of the Constitution.

Anonymous said...

The above comment illustrates why I've quite deliberately kept my political comments light and trite over the years. There is no way I know of that any reasoned response to the above would result in the slightest change to Mary's beliefs and political resolve.

And that's ok, because Australia, while a very large country, is almost neatly divided 50-50 in terms of political preference - and so any government-change is usually the result of a 1 or 2% movement in attitudes. IOW the "rusted on" majorities of both "sides" really do not matter. True, the "rustys" tend to shout the loudest, but it's all just sound and fury, of little consequence.

One thing I will note for future consideration is the death of Bob Hawke. I believe his passing will prove highly symbolic in what I think will be the larger death of what used to be termed the "wages accord" that he managed to fashion - and which has greatly benefited Australia ever since.

And I see I've just broken my own rule :)


Jim Belshaw said...

Hi kvd. I think that Mary's comments are, whether intentional or not, highly satirical. With little modification, they could feature in the Betoota Advocate.

I am glad that you have broken your own rule. I think that the combination of compulsory with preferential voting does give you that visible effect even if it's note quite as clear as that when you look at the primary vote.

I have been wondering about writing something on Mr Hawke since I was in Canberra at the time. Like most Australians I liked him despite, perhaps because of, his faults.

Anonymous said...

Ha! Well if I've been Betoota'd as it were, then I don't mind. Makes me feel a little better actually :)


Jim Belshaw said...

Hi kvd :)