May 21 - Scott Morrison-Anthony Albanese

It is on, on May 21. For both the Opposition leader Anthony Albanese and Prime Minister Scott Morrison, it is a ‘do or die’ fight of their political career. Whoever loses will be foolish to stick around the parliament house.

In the 2019 election, the one all pundits had called for the Labor party, Scott Morrison who said on the winning night that he believed in ‘miracles’, actually performed one on the day and claimed government rendering Bill Shorten to fight for his aspirations to lead Australia another day.

The issues are almost the same this time around with the only one missing the mention being the issue of Asylum seekers and which party is soft except an odd mention on the airwaves.

Between now and May 21, we will hear a lot about:

  • Climate change
  • Gender Equality
  • Health management – hospitals,  Emergencies & Medicare
  • Inflation and Cost of Living
  • Falling wages
  • Interest Rate rises & Housing Affordability

Both major parties will claim to address all of these issues and better than their counterparts. Then there are the Australian Greens, the United Australia Party, other Minor Parties and the most important the Independents.

So far the mood is the electorate shows a drift away from the two major parties and towards the new players – the Independents – who claim to have the sought after ‘panacea’ that the major parties seem not to be able to adopt because of their commitments to their grassroots base.

For instance, the Nationals cannot seem to agree on Zero emissions targets because it will kill livelihoods of their members while many of the Independents like the Australian Greens, living in their inner city air-conditioned apartments, driving air conditioned cars and travelling in air conditioned aeroplanes without a worry in the world of their own carbon footprint, resolve to have those targets.

They seem to thrive on this politics of ‘political posturing’ without worrying about the economics of their symbolic resolutions.

But it gets them votes and will this time, perhaps a bit more than last time.

The main issue is the economy and so it should be particular having gone through two plus years of pandemic still not completely over.

No one can dispute the Morrison-Frydenberg combo managed to keep the Australian economy going with their targeted programs like the JobKeeper, the JobSeeker, the HomeBuilder among other measures.

Without these measures we would be in real strife today.

But the irony is, due to issues not really important for the country’s economy, Morrison government, Morrison in particular seems to have lost his connect with the people.

Looking at similar situations in history, there should have been a huge incumbency advantage but the government is struggling to cut through. The issues like the treatment of women (Brittany Higgins, Rachelle Miller), integrity and corruption, rising prices, particularly of fuel and first in 10 years interest rate rise (by the time we go into distribution) – are hurting the Morrison mob for no fault of Scott Morrison.

Anthony Albanese on the other hand has been small on the policy and its detail this time unlike Bill Shorten in 2019.

In an uncanny parallel, like Bill Shorten in 2019, Anthony Albanese has won the first debate against Morrison (40-35).

Again like in 2019, Morrison seems to be improving each day.

Also read: Zoe Daniel, an ‘un-chained’ progressive alternative in Goldstein

But there are some issues for Morrison to combat. The gap between the Labor and the Coalition is much wider than 2019 this time in the campaign cycle.

The rise and popularity of some star independents is a real threat. Dr Monique Ryan, a former Labor party member is a giving Josh Frydenberg a real fight in Kooyong.

Zoe Daniel, former ABC journalist is giving Tim Wilson run for his money in Goldstein.

The seat of Chisholm may be in real doubt for the government. Won by a wafer thing margin of 1090 votes last time, Labor is like to win it back on May 21.

Anthony Albanese on the other hand is enjoying the fruits of silence on the policy front. The death of Kimberley Kithcing raised the issue of ‘Mean Girls’ for the Australian Labor party. Albanese not calling some sort of inquiry was a missed opportunity but it neutralized the ‘treatment of women’ attack on Morrison.

Morrison is facing the music for not being articulate when under pressure. ‘I don’t hold the hose mate’ or ‘it’s not my job’ are not the expressions of a prime minister no matter what the context.

Then there is insider bleeding of text messages calling him a ‘horrible person’ etc. which will feature in the attacks in some form or another.

Obviously and as argued earlier, all extraneous and nothing to earn Scott Morrison demerit points on the work he is engaged to do.

Some friends of Morrison may use the criticism to acknowledge his dexterity as a political operator.

Well, watch this space while the two giants of Australian politics engage in Mortal Kombat – the fight of their political careers on May 21.

When you cast your vote on May 21, remember your future through their future – is all in your hands.


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