The Labor Party plans to reverse its losing streak by changing leaders and tweaking policies. But its problems are fundamental and its electoral rout the consequence of outdated class war rhetoric, fashionable bigotry and a habit of preaching to the converted.
Conservative Party leader Cory Bernardi called out the socialist evils of Labor’s policies as well as its pious identity politics and virtue signalling throughout the election campaign.
The Australian reports, Labor’s once egalitarian ethos has been transformed into an increasingly insular order with limited demographic appeal.
As election night began, the Labor Party faithful were jubilant. By 9pm, they were in shock. A state of disbelief soon gave way to resolute denial. Before long, some had marched on to the third stage of grief, anger. They unleashed wrath on an unsuspecting public. Just as Bill Shorten had responded to critical questions on the environment by calling them dumb, so too did his team greet dissent with insult. Voters were accused of failing to comprehend Labor’s terribly sophisticated vision for the nation.
Anthony Albanese is the new opposition leader. A class warrior from the Left faction, he is more personable and less robotic than Shorten. But he risks repeating history by failing to grasp the gravity of the problem facing Labor.
The ALP cannot afford yet again to elevate personality over policy, prioritise style over substance and tweak policy instead of embracing wholesale reform of core values. Albanese said: “All of our policies need to be looked at … but not our values.” If all of a party’s policies require revision then its value system needs a major overhaul.
There is something rotten in the state of Labor.
The values it embraces are class warfare, big government, porous borders, identity politics and social engineering.
It uses taxpayers’ money to create bloated bureaucracies for political causes that divide Australians.
It pledged to increase public service wages while the private sector flounders.
During the election campaign, it politicised the press by promising the ABC and SBS more funding.
Its economic agenda is based on taking money from fiscal conservatives and showering it on spendthrifts.
Its fair go mantra is a lie. Labor embraces formal inequality by seeking to widen the scope of discrimination laws that favour state-designated minority groups.
It demands conformity to political correctness by making censorship of dissent a state prerogative.
Traditional supporters have lost the faith. Data analysed by former Queensland Labor senator John Black indicates the ALP gained support from inner city voters on high incomes. It appealed also to students clustered around the major cities, as well as areas with regional university campuses.
The Coalition picked up votes from middle-class working families in the outer suburbs and Christians living in lower income seats on urban fringes.
The contracting demography of green-left elites is especially problematic for leftist parties in a Westminster system.
But Labor won’t reckon with reality and its leaders are refusing to update their value proposition.
The party is at a crossroads.
It can acknowledge it lost the election badly, or write off its third consecutive loss as a near miss due to an unpopular leader and poor communication.
Unfortunately, the party has assumed its default position of blame-shifting .
Albanese believes all Labor policies need to be “looked at” but its values are fine. That makes no sense.
Philosophical values are the basis of party policy.
Australians voted for the Coalition because its campaign platform was aligned with party values.
It created a sense of authenticity and appeal the opposition lacks.
As Albanese assumes the Labor leadership, reforming party values should take precedence over fiddling with policies and polishing spin.