The result in Fadden on Saturday is being seen as a win for Peter Dutton. That is only half the truth. It should mean much more for Bill Shorten and his camp, if he ever plans to put his hand for the top job again.
It is not surprising the print spaces and airwaves have only analysed the result, as they traditionally would in the Labor and Liberal binary. If on one hand the Liberals (Deputy Opposition leader Susan Ley) claimed it as strong endorsement of Dutton’s leadership, the government side (Deputy Prime Minister Richard Marles) on the other dismissed it as “lethargic” showing, particularly because the electorate of Fadden fell in Peter Dutton’s own backyard.
The liberals claimed the real issues of cost-of-living pressures have started to “bite” finally and people do not see Prime Minister Albanese having the answers.
The Labor party on the other hand suggest if that were the case, the swing should have been much bigger.
And thus, some commentators concluded it as a moderate win for Dutton and summed up and rested their case.
That is a fallacy. Australians ordinarily, would speak much louder and they did in Aston. Then why not in Fadden?
I believe the Aston byelection represented the extended honeymoon period the Albanese government enjoyed resulting in much vocal pro-Labor euphoria. The government had just about begun their innings and were throwing in a lot of sweeteners like the Voice, to shroud their complete lack of agenda to govern Australia. And the woke voters of Aston, noticing the new Labor donning green and teal in its proclamations, fell for it.
They say a day in politics is a long time. The Fadden election simply reinforced that. Only 12 weeks after the Aston byelection, the muffled or “lethargic” protest vote against the Albanese government which had made history in Aston, should be very heartening to those who would want the Labor government in Canberra, but led by someone else.
That is where Bill Shorten comes in. If Bill Shorten still has ambition for the top job, the Fadden result can be the premise to make a beginning of his comeback plan.
Anthony Albanese (“Albo”) and Bill Shorten have been rivals and that is a good thing for their party and good for Australia.
But to me Albo, who did not know the figures of “cash rate” and “rate of inflation” just days out from the election last year, who promised to lower electricity prices for all Australians among other things, has had not real program to govern Australia. The complete reverse is taking place with the power bills rising to unaffordable levels and the government seems to know nothing to control it.
This reminds me of the Janta party’s win against the late Indian prime minister Indira Gandhi in 1977 and achieving complete decimation at the very next election (1980) for lack of any governance agenda.
If prime minister Albanese and his clique of confidants are not hell-bent to repeat the conduct of the Janta party in India, they have two options to choose from:
first – to dump the ill-fated and very expensive the Voice referendum process and come up with an actual agenda to govern, to arrest the cost-of-living pressures going up every minute;
second –to hand over the reins now or to commit to hand to over to someone else (Bill Shorten) post “the Voice” referendum loss.
It is about time Bill Shorten and his team, (Labor’s plan B) should go into drills.
Politics is a tough act. It not only involves the mere optics (which the government seems to be relying on at the moment), it also involves decision making on things and policies which will affect lives of real people, real Australians. I have violent objection to the current (default) form of governing – just ordering inquiries or Royal Commissions or setting up committees costing millions of dollars to the Australian tax payer.
Why are we paying huge salaries to our politicians for? Time is coming soon when Australian will start ask if they are getting value for their money?
The elected politicians have to perform to justify being where they are. They cannot continue to pretend doing their job by delegating it to commissions of enquiry, which delivers, if any, justice / vindication in documents (reports) than to real people on ground. Australians have been too accepting of this con job. It is about time we start asking for accountability from all, including our politicians.
That only will happen, if we get someone who is committed to the job, has the guts and ready to take tough decision.
Remember John Howard’s famous line of “… we will decide who comes into this country and the circumstances under which they come…”?
When the Port Arthur massacre took place in 1996, John Howard, who had been prime minister for less than eight weeks, delivered gun laws reform in Australia within 12 days of Port Arthur mass shooting. He was decisive, imperilled earning the wrath of the National party who were very close to the Australian gun lobby. He put his deputy PM Tim Fischer to make them if not vote for the reform, to at least accept it.
Like many politicians of today, he did not choose the path of a prolonged, lengthy and expensive Royal Commission.
The gain in Fadden for Dutton will be very sweet for him, who is seen as a strong man of the Liberal party by Australians.
Whether one likes or not, there are a lot of people who want to see their leader actually standing for something; he is someone that fits the bill.
While Dutton only has to emulate his former leader John Howard who rose to become one of the most successful Liberal prime ministers in the Australian history, the Labor party under Anthony Albanese should do everything it can, to avoid emulating the Janta party of India in the 1977-1980 period.
Speaking for Labor sympathisers, the onus is not just on Anthony Albanese, it is on Bill Shorten as well.