Some people (in fact, quite a lot of people) have pondered about the direction of Australian politics. This post will mostly concentrate around the Federal Coalition, as later I will discuss my thoughts of the ALP and the Greens (in separate posts).
Where are we now?
I for one am not happy with the direction of politics. For one thing, we have lost some of our finest wordsmiths of Parliament:
I’d love to have a video of the exchange between Lindsay Tanner and Bronwyn Bishop in 2010 but unfortunately such a video doesn’t exist without extensive research.
My biggest concern is the entirely negative approach that federal politics and particularly the Federal Opposition appears to have taken. This is not dissimilar to the direction of the Tea Party movement that has developed as a faction of the Republican Party.
The intransigence of the Federal Coalition on numerous high-profile pieces of legislation and policy is, in my opinion, leading the opposition down a dangerous path. Twitter went into overdrive late last week when this interview went to air.
This is a major problem with the direction of the conservative side of federal politics. The fixation around specific issues to the detriment of all other issues is resulting in increasing negativity associated with politics. The video above shows that Tony was not prepared for the interview and this is a problem for the opposition. By concentrating on the carbon tax and the mining tax as major issues for the government, it is overshadowing the work that is being done by all other shadow ministers – this tweet by Anthony Albanese shows how much good work is being done in Canberra.
Given that the Leader of the House is followed by just shy of 3300 people (a term that should be used loosely when discussing people in terms of Twitter), the vast majority of people are not aware of this work. I’m fairly sure that people are also uninformed of the hard work done by the Senate through their committee systems, although the Senate Twitter account has more followers than Anthony Albanese.
The other side of the coin, of course, is why the ALP has not been able to capitalise on this. The reason (in my eyes) is that minority government has hamstrung the policy making ability of ministers. By having to have all vaguely controversial policies vetted by regional interests that more often than not do not relate to the policy overall, the Gillard government has been unable to move. This is another reason why the Abbott Coalition has been so successful in its negativity – the government has never been able to get all the independents and Greens over the line on controversial legislation, nor have any of them become members of the ALP (I accept that this is an extremely unlikely proposition, but I’m sure stranger things have happened). More on this in a later post though.
Where to from here?
Based on the current polls, it is predicted that the Federal Coalition will roll into the Ministerial Wing and the Lodge in the second half of 2013 (assuming no early election).
However, it is my belief that the ratings for the Coalition will start to dip further as the continued negativity turns swinging voters away from the Coalition and towards other candidates. I can’t see the ALP picking up additional votes from the voters due to their inability to negotiate a compromise with their “partners”, the Greens. I do believe that the Greens will pick up votes in some areas, but will lose many due to their inability to compromise on legislation, as reflected in the recent asylum seeker debate.
I think there will be an increase in “informal” votes – probably in the form of blank voting forms. It’s my opinion that this is going to be driven by continued disappointment in the direction of both major parties. Additionally, there will be a push for people to try voting below the line on the Senate ballot papers with a number of them getting wrong and resulting in informal votes.
The Coalition will win the next election, but it is not going to win by as big a margin as people expect. It will pick those seats up in New South Wales and Queensland. Andrew Wilkie will lose his seat of Denison to the ALP, Adam Bandt will lose his seat of Melbourne to the ALP because the Coalition is swap preferences with the ALP ahead of the Greens. Rob Oakeshott will be pushed to preferences, and I believe he may lose his seat to the National Party. Bob Katter will keep his seat and have a swing towards him, while Tony Windsor will have a swing against him but will keep his seat. Gary Gray will continue to have a swing against him in the seat of Brand but will probably keep his seat – having said that, it will take a week or two to determine the result of the seat. South Australia will see no changes in seats and Victoria may see a seat move to the Coalition.
I believe that the Greens will lose some of its Senate seats, most of them to the ALP. The Coalition will firm up its Senate quota, and pick up an extra seat in South Australia at the expense of Sarah Hanson-Young. There is a possibility that the Greens could lose its Senate seat in Tasmania, but it’s more likely that the Greens would lose the additional Senate seats in the lead up to the 2017 Senate change over.
Tony Abbott and the Liberal Party’s direction in Federal Politics is a dangerous path of negativity – without firm policies to back up the rhetoric, the whole thing could come crashing down, and we all saw what happened to Anna Bligh!
I’m intrigued to hear your thoughts.