The Downfall of the Coalition
The Liberal party has had a tumultuous year, and the polls are punishing them for it. Politics writer Mark Smith discusses what the Coalition must do in order to stay in power.
The Liberal party must now face up to the fact that they are in serious trouble. If the drubbing in the Victorian state election is mirrored in its federal counterpart, we will see a loss of around 5/6 seats in that state alone. The Liberal party seems to now be split between the conservatives and the moderates, a possibly-permanent division.
With Julia Banks, federal member for Chisholm, quitting the party and moving to the crossbench as an independent, the PM Scott Morrison now leads a minority government.
At the same time, somewhat inconveniently, and apparently unknown to the PM, as Banks was quitting, Morrison was announcing the budget would be delivered in April 2019, meaning the election will be held mid-May. As has been said many times before, disunity in politics is death, and the Liberals certainly seem to be heading towards a massacre at the polling booths next year. Something extraordinary would have to happen to change this. The Liberal party must reassess what they stand for, and quickly. This seems unlikely though. Both factions in the party are seemingly more content to destroy each other, therefore handing the keys to the Lodge to Bill Shorten.
Two major institutions that have been critical in helping the Liberals over the years are big businesses and the church. However, trust in major institutions, including the political system, has plummeted; therefore, businesses and the church are falling victim to the demise of the stable conservative worldview.
It seems inevitable that the Coalition will lose badly next year. Very rarely do we see one party hold a majority in both Houses of Parliament. A good government needs a good strong opposition to keep it in check. If the Liberals continue their current rabble, the Labor party will be guaranteed at least two terms.
The state election will be held in March in NSW, before the federal poll, and the Coalition government here is fearful that voters will punish them like our Victorian cousins. The Premier has a good record with the economy and infrastructure, but problems remain with the light rail, and she must sort this out as soon as possible. Her job should be made easier after the resignation of state Labor leader Luke Foley. But, as always, be careful what you wish for; the public doesn’t often vote opposition parties in, but rather votes governments out. •
words by: mark smith photography: unsplash