The election grows closer, and as it does the Coalition’s prospects of winning it grows smaller. I could be wrong – maybe some wild event occurs that they capitalise on and barely drive themselves through to success, or maybe that extra dose of propaganda they can spew out at the taxpayer’s expense now will trick swing voters into jumping off the cliff with them. Who knows? The Coalition seems to.
Christopher Pyne, our current Defence Minister, because there’s never been a better time to be a weapons exporter making deals that will undoubtedly end in war crimes against Yemeni civilians, is just the latest in a slew of resignation announcements and party defections. Julia Banks, in what most viewed as a more self-serving move than any kind of statement for women, became an Independent. Julie Bishop resigned and received what could be called a media obituary as a “respectable Liberal woman”. Compared to the rest of the gang, sure, but I’m sure there are some mesothelioma victims who would disagree with her being cast as a hero.
The Minister for Women (surprisingly an actual woman!), Kelly O’Dwyer, said she would not recontest her seat in Higgins, which some have said may even fall to the Greens this election, due to personal reasons. Time will tell whether she is being genuine or imitating former NSW Premier Mike Baird’s ‘personal’ situation sidestep into the corporate sector. Minister for Human Services (what an abysmal record there), Michael Keenan, also announced he would not recontest his seat in similar circumstances – wanting to spend more time with family. Again, we’ll see. The record of politicians leaving office to pick up a job as a lobbyist or some high-ranking position, usually in a company that profits off the government, is not in their favour.
But what reason could there be for so many to jump ship in the last few months? With full acknowledgement that polls mean little outside of what is currently trending, the Coalition is lagging behind Labor anywhere from a 48-52 to 45-55 preferred rating. The preferred Prime Minister poll has even less weight, because while Shorten has failed for quite some time to gain popularity, thankfully Australia has not collapsed to the American paradigm of personality over policy. We still, for the most part, vote for people and parties based on what they can offer us as public servants, not because of populist movements or fake charisma.
The chances of the Coalition winning again are low, and the resignations and defections reflect this. It is also reflected in the fact that the government has been trying to claim others’ policies as their own. Just like with the same sex marriage issue, they are trying to claim credit for the RC into the finance sector – an RC that certain members voted more than 20 times to prevent, then passed it and throttled it with the permission of the banks. They are now also trying to claim credit for removing children from Nauru – the very same government that did nothing to stop the abuse for 5 years, and now, backed into a corner in a minority position and with an election on the horizon, are spinning their Christmas Island solution as a humanitarian victory. Billions of dollars wasted for no change in results, but it makes good PR.
The public is not exactly fooled by this, however. With scandal after scandal being revealed in the last few weeks, combined with resignations and the aftermath of the latest leadership spill, the populace is not pleased. In a couple of months, I expect a very desperate government to be voted out, if there are any members left to vote out. Hopefully I am not disappointed – then I’ll have a whole new government to criticise!
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