• Hannah Phillips

Ordinary Australia Rejects the Green Left Agenda

According to the Australian Electoral Commission at the close of counting on Sunday, the Coalition was one seat away from having a majority on the floor of the House of Representatives. At the moment the Australian Electoral Commission is indicating the Coalition has 76 seats but if this remains the position and it provides a speaker then the numbers in the House would be 75 to 75. There are three seats undecided but the Liberals are in front in only one, Bass in Tasmania. The Liberal candidate Bridget Archer is currently 478 votes in front of sitting Labor member Ross Hart and seems almost certain to win the seat. The significance of this election is reflected in the primary vote. The progressive left (Labor and the Greens) received only 44% of the primary vote whereas the centre-right received 56%. This was a clear repudiation by mainstream Australia of the progressive agenda of big government, wealth redistribution and radical climate change policy. On the other hand both sides promised better essential services including health and education, more attention for people with disabilities and certainty when it comes to climate change and energy, particularly when it comes to prices and reliability. There is also agreement that something has to be done about water. A defeated Labor Party has to make some pretty big choices. It has to choose a new leader and it has to decide whether to stick with the rejected policy agenda of Bill Shorten and Chris Bowen or to move to a more acceptable centrist position. Of the likely candidates for leader, Tanya Plibersek will probably stick with the old agenda whereas Anthony Albanese, Richard Marles and Jim Chalmers will probably opt for change. Anthony Albanese will be the popular choice of Labor party members and if he carries the party and the caucus he will have the authority to make major changes. Albo is skilled at the art of compromise and he is likely to seek a measure of bipartisanship on matters of national interest such as water and the NDIS. There is even the prospect of a measure of bipartisanship on energy and climate change. This could be achieved if both major parties agree to move forward on the basis of evidence. A good first step would be for the Government and the Opposition to ask the Productivity Commission to conduct an enquiry and report on the extent to which emissions can be reduced without causing significant economic damage. It could also analyse the benefits of emission reductions when compared with the costs of change. The Coalition also faces some difficult choices. Scott Morrison will have to choose a new ministry and some underperforming front benchers will need to be replaced. He will also have to set out an agenda for the next three years that comprehends more than just tax cuts. Michael McCormack’s national water grid should be a priority, along with the establishment of the national integrity commission and the religious protection legislation. Apart from this the Coalition’s main objective should be to make government more efficient and responsive to its citizens. Energy Minister Angus Taylor has estimated that the Government could save $48 billion a year by being more efficient in the delivery of services. This could build a lot of schools and hospitals and retire a lot of debt.

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