Not requiring the support of teal independents, Anthony Albanese to govern as PM

Anthony Albanese sworn in as 31 Prime Minister of Australia

Anthony Albanese has been sworn as Australia’s 31st Prime Minister. He is due to fly to Japan to participate in QUAD talks – where he will meet Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, US President Joe Biden and the host Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida.

After taking oath as the Prime Minister, Anthony Albanese announced his interim ministry which included Richard Marles member for Corio as Deputy Prime Minister, Senator Penny Wong as Australia’s Foreign Minister, Andrew Chalmer as Treasurer and Senator Katie Gallagher as Australia’s Finance Minister. They also took oath before posing with the Prime Minister Albanese and His Excellency General the Honourable David John Hurley AC DSC (Retd) for the official photograph.

Most commentators had a feeling the result could be a Labor win and the so-called ‘Teal independents’ could also do some damage.

The size of the Liberals’ loss would also be no surprise to them.

Most Liberal strategists must be feeling like fools pondering over as to what could have been done differently to avoid the result they got.

This needs to be looked at carefully. Some commentators have been quick to jump to interpret the result in Victorian context. They drew their argument from the Labor advertisements during the election campaign using Scott Morrison saying NSW’s handling of pandemic (at that point in time) was ‘Gold Standard’.

Their interpretation is – the colossal loss in Victoria for the Liberals was due to Morrison and his government’s priority for NSW over Victoria.

They have referred to Premier Daniel Andrews’s statements during the election campaign.

“They thought they were bagging our government, but they were bagging every Victorian who was following the rules and doing the right thing, and that might be one of the reasons why they’re in a bit of trouble in their seats,” Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews had said.

They also referred to Daniel Andrews claiming many senior Liberals including the treasurer, Josh Frydenberg, “proved to be Liberals first and Victorians second”.

I disagree.

In my considered view, this played no or next to negligible part in the election rout the Liberals have on their hands.

With the Australian Labor party recording the lowest primary vote since 1932 (according to 3AW’s Neil Mitchell), less than its vote in 2019 when Labor lost, it is clear that the Liberals have lost the election but Labor has not won it.

Mathematically, they have the seats but with under 33 per cent primary vote, they have been as emphatically rejected as the Liberals who recorded 35 per cent of the primary vote.

The tumultuous political times ahead will be a worry for those who in good faith believe in an orderly governance and functioning of the economy.

The election 2022 was in fact lost, a long time ago, well before it could be called. It was lost when Brittany Higgins came out with the alleged rape by a Liberal staffer and its clumsy handling in a manner which carried the stench of “routine matter” handling by the then Prime Minister Scott Morrison and his other ministers.

To the good fortune of the teal independents, for weeks – it was handled so bad – blaming and “un-blaming” staffers and ministers making reluctant admissions of knowledge or attempting to avoid the issue.

Add to all this – the Christian Porter saga.

And Rachelle Miller’s accusations against Morrison’s minister for Education Alan Tudge.

The icing on the cake – was Scott Morrison’s “icy” meeting with Australian of the Year – Grace Tame, who later joined hands with Brittany Higgins and addressed the National Press Club giving more oxygen to the claims by the then Opposition, the Australian Labor party that the Liberal’s did not treat their women well.

For almost two years – while Morrison and his treasurer were valiantly fighting the pandemic and generating jobs which delivered the lowest ever unemployment in Australia since the 1970s when records began, little did they know that Australian women’s trust in them was continuing to wane.

And all this while, his advisors and the Liberal strategists were slept at the wheel.

Also read: Scott Morrison crash-tackles 8 year old Luca Fauvette

Climate change was the only other significant issue and at play.

Although an important issue, it is a difficult one for the Liberals because of their partnership with the Nationals who have some party members – violently opposed to the targets of 60 per cent reduction by 2030 or Zero emission by 2050.

That explains the contradictory statements from with the Coalition, some very close the election.

The ABC and the left press gave more than sufficient space to keep the issues alive.

Add to this the “gotch” agenda journos and Morrison’s internal enemies – the invisible cabinet minister leaking Gladys Berejiklian text messages – painting Morrison as a “horrible, horrible person”.

Morrison’s clumsy defence of Kathrine Deves in Warringah can be classified as a self-goal on the political field. That is, in today’s clime.

All this gave more and more “progressive” women – a reason to not vote for Scott Morrison and look to the Greens, the Australian Labor party or the teal independents

But Anthony Albanese did not offer much when he refused to set up an enquiry into the allegations of bullying against the “Mean Girls” after the sudden death of Senator Kimberley Kitching.

And the natural winners were the teal independents – women themselves – who will be now a new force in Australian politics.

How long and to what avail, is a million-dollar question.

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