Labor in ruins, teary Shorten’s career in tatters
Sydney May 18: Scott Morrison, Australia’s 30th prime minister, scored a surprise victory in federal elections on Saturday. The win stunned Australian election analysts and opinion pollsters. Not less than 567 opinion polls had pointed to a loss for Mr. Morrison’s coalition for months. Such was the zeal in Labor’s camp that Mr Shorten sounded over-confident of his win in the morning. Just after casting his vote and talking to people in Melbourne, Shorten talked about his legislative agenda committing himself to first restore penalty rates.
Sadly for Shorten, his goose was cooked early in the evening when ABC’s election analyst Antony Green called the election for the Coalition just two hours into the night.
“I have always believed in miracles,” Mr. Morrison said in his victory speech and rushing to add that the night or win was not for him, it was for Australians who depend on their government.
“Tonight is about every single Australian who depends on their government to put them first. And that is exactly what we are going to do.”
The campaign was long and arduous, messy and toxic at times but Scott Morrison held his beliefs and soldiered on.
The choice Australians were presented was simple: to choose between Scott Morrison & Bill Shorten. Scott Morrison although slightly tainted by the leadership issues, had huge runs on the board for stopping the boats and securing our boarders as Immigration minister and then as treasurer who worked very well with Malcolm Turnbull. Bill Shorten on the other hand was seen as a union leader, inexperienced and untrustworthy to manage the economy and particularly tainted for his role as faceless man in the knifing of Labor PMs – Kevin Rudd and Julia Gillard.
With Clime Palmer pumping in millions of dollars and criticizing continuing migration levels directly or indirectly and threats from China and the invisible enemy, it all fell into place for the Coalition’s lowering migration levels. On top of that, Liberals preference deal with Palmer’s United Australia Party did a lot of damage to the Labor cause in Queensland.
On the down side for the Liberals, Tony Abbott lost his seat and is no longer in the parliament. After having pumped millions of dollars, Clime Palmer does not look to have secured a senate seat for himself. That makes the road for Scott Morrison free of speed humps and he should be heartened to choose his course and put his own seal on the course he choose from this point on.
Shorten, despite being the leader of opposition for six years, failed to sell himself. His personal approval ratings never matched Scott Morrison’s. Conceding defeat on the night, a teary Shorten was brutally honest when he told his supporters in Melbourne, “I know you’re all hurting, and I am, too.”
But he told the party faithful to keep faith and wait for their time. He promised them their time would come but it would not be under him as he announced he was quitting as the leader of the parliamentary Labor party.
Labor strategists will have to re-invent themselves after this election. More than the Coalition, Labor needs to redefine its position on climate change in the practical realities of life that people need jobs to look after their families. They have to understand that economic insecurity may push people to look at or complain about migration levels, but that does not make them conservatives or right wingers. On the flip side, closing mines and local businesses in the name of action on climate change and driving people out of jobs can only lead to horrible visuals of empty stomachs in homes. Hungry stomachs do not enjoy any climate.
Having gone hungry home from the night, I am sure Shorten will be feeling the heat of the cool climes he has delivered to Scott Morrison.