Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s victory
did more than secure his place in political history… the unexpected win demonstrated an uncomfortable truth for many in the Australian elite about the nature of their society.
Conservative Party leader Cory Bernardi said, “Although we can’t hide from the disappointing election result for the Australian Conservatives I am pleased that the Coalition was re-elected last Saturday … Big government and the tribalism of the leftists may have been put back in their box for now but they haven’t yet been vanquished. Our task now is to be ever-vigilant to them making a comeback.”
The Australian Financial Review reports, the distinct options given to voters, and the definitive choice they made, revealed the innate conservatism of the Australian middle and working classes.
The election result has demonstrated that Australia is not a society that desires big, interventionist government in the same manner as Sweden, France or even Britain. The national mood desires lower taxes, a smaller state and strong borders.
Defying his political heritage in Labor’s free-market wing, Bill Shorten adopted an almost-ideal “progressive” agenda championed by The Australia Institute, academia, social media activists, public service unions, GetUp!, the Guardian and prominent economic columnists at Nine’s big papers.
Shorten proposed higher taxes, larger government and surrendering cheap energy from Australia’s huge reserves of coal and gas.
Morrison stood in opposition. His policies, led by tax cuts across the income spectrum, he deliberately didn’t promise to change Australia, but to leave it mostly the same, and a little wealthier.
Prosperous and aspirational, Australians no longer believe unions or governments are necessary to protect their wages. They don’t believe industries should be subsidised by governments, except for perhaps defence manufacturers.
They do not fear healthcare underpinned by the private sector, nor covering part of their medical costs. They do not believe there is a childcare crisis.
They do not regard franking credits as a favour bestowed by government, but recognition of taxes paid by self-supporting investors.
They also aren’t certain closing coal and gas power stations will make electricity cheaper.
Anthony Albanese, the man tipped to lead the bruised and battered Labor Party, will be a more formidable opponent for conservative Liberals.
Albanese is a consistent and loud supporter of the Adani coal mine, and carries a working-class authenticity that Shorten tried but could never attain.
Albanese versus Morrison would be an closely matched fight for the hearts of cautious and conservative Australians, whom the 2019 election demonstrated are now the dominant political force in this society.