Wednesday, 29 March 2017

The Turnbull Government may strike a pose each and every day - that won't change the mood in the electorate

Right now the political colour of Australian government is Liberal-Nationals 3 (Federal, NSW, Tas) to Labor 6 (ACT, NT, Qld, SA, Vic, WA).

The Turnbull Government next goes to the polls at a federal general election sometime between 4 August 2018 and 18 May 2019.

Before then Queensland, South Australia and Tasmania face the voters again at state elections.

Between August 2018 and May 2019 News South Wales and Victoria also have elections.

While the Northern Territory doesn’t have to think about a state election again until 2020. [Australian Parliament website, States and territories: next election dates]

The Liberal and Nationals political fight for voters hearts and minds is going to be fierce and is likely to be nasty given they have so few allies at state government level.

This is what they have to overcome to regain the electorates confidence in both tiers of government - their own entitlement culture, a predilection for budgetary cost cutting at the expense of the poor and vulnerable which smacks of class warfare, an ideological straightjacket hampering vital national policies and open hostility to ordinary wage earners.

Social media is beginning to draw all these strands together………….

The AIM Network, 18 March 2017:

Sally McManus is the hero of workers. Turnbull is welcome to try to villainise her, but in doing so, he’s only making himself the enemy.

In her first television interview as head representative of people who work, McManus was involved in what media-insiders call a ‘gotcha moment’. Courtesy of the get-me-a-gotcha-moment-in-place-of-any-useful-political-analysis-queen, Leigh Sales. In their version of events, McManus was in hot water for backing the safety of workers at any cost, even if that cost is breaking laws designed to help employers shirk any responsibility for protecting people who work for them.

Right wingers squealed in delight when Sales drew supposably controversial comments out of McManus so early in the piece. The attacks came thick and fast from all the obvious places, including many journalists, who tut-tutted about law-breaking as if the law-breaking in question was home invasion or carjacking. Even those from Fairfax, who were more than happy to illegally strike in protest at their own colleagues being sacked, apparently can’t see the irony of criticising workers who do the same thing when a colleague is killed. Christopher Pyne, jumping on McManus like a seagull on a chip, called on her to resign. Turnbull, grasping for something to divert from his own failures, said he couldn’t work with her.

A year ago, this whole episode would have been yet another predictable, not worth mentioning, union bashing media-beat-up. But things have changed in the past few months. People have woken up to wealth inequality. Australia saw this wake up contribute to Brexit and the election of Trump. Closer to home, we’ve had One Nation pop up in Turnbull’s double dissolution, only to be over-egged and come crashing back down in the WA election, where, lo and behold, Labor achieved an 8% swing in their primary vote without any help from minors.

Throughout this time, Turnbull’s government continues to be a mixture of insipid do-nothing indecision, scandal and destruction, infighting and chaos, ideological bastardy and economic incompetence while they sidestep from one policy disaster to the next. Amongst the attacks to Medicare, the undermining of welfare through the Centrelink debacle, the failure on energy policy, the distractions from fringe fundamentalists such as anti-marriage-equality and repealing hate-speech laws, there is one policy which stands shiny and red as the most detestable, a pimple on a bum of failure: an attack to wages through a cut to penalty rates. This decision was the nail in Turnbull’s coffin. Commentators and Federal Liberals can claim all they like that the electoral result in WA was a result of local issues. But there is absolutely no doubting that a cut to wages saw voters melting off Liberals like sweat from Turnbull’s, and Hanson’s brow.

Let’s get something clear. Wages are the central concern of the electorate. Yes, most of us have other concerns, including climate change, education, healthcare, infrastructure, housing affordability, energy policy, immigration, just to name a few. But first on Maslow’s Hierarchy of political needs for left-wing and right-wing voters alike is an economic indicator which is being felt personally in homes from Broome to Launceston, from Townsville to Bankstown: record low wage growth. To put it bluntly, workers aren’t paid enough for the productive labour they contribute to the economy. There is plenty of money being made. It’s just not reaching those who create it….

Read the full article here.

And polls are showing a level of unhappiness that is hard to miss........

Essential Report, 21 March 2017:

The Liberal Party’s main attributes were – too close to the big corporate and financial interest (71%), will promise anything to win votes (71%), out of touch with ordinary people (68%) and divided (68%).
 Main changes since June last year were – divided (up 16%) and has a good team of leaders (down 9%).

The Sydney Morning Herald, 26 March 2017:

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