When Australia goes to the polls sometime and the Coalition is likely defeated, as the 50 straight Newspoll losses would suggest, the Morrison government will have chosen electoral oblivion over making simple policy changes that may well have turned around their fortunes.
Despite thre prime ministers in less than four years, multiple damaging gaffes by senior ministers and an exodus of strong ministerial talent – Julie Bishop, Christopher Pyne and Kelly O’Dwyer – the alternative vision provided by the Labor Party is hardly setting the nation afire e.
As it stands, the 2019 Federal election looks like it will be yet another confirmation of the old political proverb, “oppositions don’t win elections, governments lose them”.
Except things don’t need to play out like that. The Morrison government has an alternative, a road yet untraveled that could potentially begin to transform the public’s perception of the Coalition.
The Coalition could begin to address the concerns of everyday Australians by cutting the current rate of net overseas migration from the present rate of approximately 160,000, to around the long run historical average of 70,000.
A number of polls and studies conducted by a wide array of academic and data research agencies have concluded that a majority of the Australian people want the current rate of immigration cut, at least until infrastructure can catch up with the explosive population growth Australia has experienced in the last decade.
For example, the latest polling conducted in November for the Centre of Independent Studies concluded that Australian’s from across the economic spectrum were in favour of an “immigration pause or cut”, with 65 per cent in the highest income decile and 77 percent in the lowest supporting a cut or pause on immigration until critical infrastructure had time to catch up.
With the population of Australia reached 25 million more than 30 years earlier than the Australian Bureau of Statistics initially projected, key infrastructure and service provision has become of the key factors in determining an individual’s vote.
This was perhaps best illustrated by an exit poll taken during the recent NSW state election, in which 43 per cent of voters said that health and hospitals was the most important issue to them, followed by education on 35 per cent.
With hospital wait times blowing out suburbs in our capital cities and students in some locales increasingly forced into demountable classrooms as overstretched schools struggle to cope with strong population growth, high immigration underpins a number of the issues Australians consider the most important to them.
By addressing the concerns of the electorate on these key issues by providing greater funding for hospitals and schools, while simultaneously cutting the rate of immigration back to its long term average, the Morrison government could begin to build a reputation as a consultive government that gives weight to the voices of everyday people.
The Morrison government has a golden opportunity to make the Coalition competitive in the next election and perhaps even defy all the odds with a ‘Lazarus with a triple bypass’ style comeback win.
All it needs to do is find the political will to genuinely listen to the concerns of a frustrated electorate.
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