Monday, June 06, 2022
Saturday, June 04, 2022
Like many, I did not shed tears of blood over Labor's victory in the last Federal election. I felt that the Coalition Government had become stale after nine years in office. A change in Government allows for the evolution of new approaches, something that becomes increasingly difficult as governments age. I also found myself increasingly annoyed by Prime Minister Morrison's unfortunate tendency to select words, express attitudes, that reminded me of areas where I had been in disagreement with the Government's previous approach. There was a sometimes harshness, a lack of compassion, in his words that made me distrustful, that reinforced my concerns that the Coalition Government could not be trusted on matters of individual freedom.
The success of the "Teal" independents and, to a lesser extent, the Greens surprised me. I have spent a fair bit of time involved in or observing country (now regional) politics. There the primary political context has long been between the Country now National Party, the Liberal Party and independents or, more recently, minor parties. Labor was once strong in country NSW, but that's a long time ago. While I describe my traditional affiliation as Country Party, I have voted independent on many occasions. By contrast, I have voted Liberal once in my life. In my world, the Liberals have been the traditional enemy, Labor less so.
While some city independents have been successful, Ted Mack comes to mind, it is much harder to run an independent campaign in the city. In the country, voting populations are in discrete pockets within electorates. The city position is very different. Go to a meeting of a local group and your will find that many attendees live outside the electorate. Hand out campaign material at a railway station and you will find that a large proportion of people do not live in your electorate. In the country, a now sadly diminished local media will still carry your material. In the city, the main media is all metro focused making it hard for a candidate from a particular locality to attract coverage,
The "Teal" position this time was different. Their local identity was important but they campaigned on two popular issues - integrity and climate change - which attracted national media coverage giving them real coverage. And they were well funded to an extent that most independents could only dream of. The end result was a considerable electoral triumph.
There has been a lot of rather breathless coverage over the results including "Teal" and Green success and the reduction in the vote of both Labor and the Coalition. I would agree that the results reflect continued demographic change and as well as cultural shifts. but it will be some time before sensible judgements can be made. In the meantime, I have enjoyed watching the new Government start to settle in.