Leading article Australia

We picked it

25 May 2019

9:00 AM

25 May 2019

9:00 AM

The Coalition’s election victory may have come as a shock to many, but certainly not to readers of The Spectator Australia; several of our writers predicted the outcome in these pages and at Flat White, and more importantly, gave the crucial insights as to why it could occur. Our heartiest congratulations to Scott Morrison.

Three days before the election, at a party at the Opera House, Labor’s aspiring new leader, Anthony Albanese, identified his party’s opponents as ‘anyone to the right of Malcolm Turnbull.’ Labor and angry ex-Liberal Julia Banks were so confident that the ALP had her seat of Chisholm in the bag, that she went in search of Greg Hunt’s scalp in Flinders, because he’d backed Mr Dutton.

‘It wasn’t meant to be this way,’ wailed a stunned ABC journalist, when Gladys Liu, the mastermind of the Liberals game-changing 2016 WeChat campaign, won Chisolm. Ms Liu scandalised self-styled ‘progressives’ by criticising shibboleths like the Safe Schools program and saying that a lot of Chinese parents don’t agree with letting boys go into a girl’s toilet. Understandably, they have been loath to congratulate the party they like to sneer at as racist and sexist, for electing our first Chinese Aussie female MP.

Mr Albanese, whose main adversary in Grayndler is a Green, condemned Green groupthink, mocking those who think everyone wants to stop Adani and don’t even know where it is; they think ‘it’s on the Great Barrier Reef,’ he explained. But when Mr Albanese was challenged about his heretical utterances, he drew the line at actually defending the mine, saying, ‘There is a perfectly legitimate campaign of opposition to Adani and opening up the Galilee Basin.’

So entrenched is the Left’s groupthink that most of the Labor leadership contenders still don’t recognise the electoral impact of its policy of prevarication over Adani. Pauline Hanson’s One Nation, which campaigned unequivocally in support of the mine, got the biggest swing of any party in the election. Labor voters in regional Queensland, NSW and Tasmania flocked to give her their vote, then gave their preferences to the Coalition. Joel Fitzgibbon, who suffered a swing of 20 per cent to One Nation, in what was once the Labor heartland of the Hunter Valley, is a lonely voice trying to steer the party back to the centre.

Arthur Sinodinos, who was at the Opera House shindig, is not one of those ‘to the right of Turnbull.’ His main foray outside of politics was at Australian Water Holdings. These days, he may avoid water, but he happily imbibes the Green Kool-Aid, urging the newly re-elected government not to stand in the way of renewables because ‘the cost is falling,’ ‘it’s a terrific way to reduce our greenhouse gas footprint’ and we have the potential to be the Saudi Arabia of alternative energy. Well, in that case, the private sector should get on with it, without subsidies from consumers.

Thankfully, the PM is holding firm but just because Labor was defeated at the ballot box, doesn’t mean the rent-seekers are going to give up. The battle is on to rewrite the narrative of the election. The critical difference between the two sides was the support the government gave to the resource sector. Yes, the government had to hold onto wealthy electorates in Melbourne and Sydney and win back Wentworth, but Mr Shorten’s attacks on family trusts, franking credits, negative gearing and capital gains tax were doing the heavy lifting there. The idea that a Coalition government wouldn’t announce the environmental approval of Adani to shore up those seats should have been unthinkable, but it wasn’t, and the government owes a debt of gratitude to Resources Minister Senator Matt Canavan, amongst others, for delivering the reality check needed to break the impasse.

Those who still imagine that Mr Turnbull could have won this electionforget the drubbing he received in the Super Saturday by-elections in 2018, in the same seats that delivered victory to Mr Morrison, and his attempts to destroy the right wing of his own party because of its defence of fossil fuels.

Having presented themselves as the party of unity for the last six years, the Labor Party is opening up all the old wounds as the factions count their numbers. But despite all the tears shed over the passing of Bob Hawke, no-one who could hold a candle to him seems to be in the running. It is taboo to even mention that the man who delivered Labor more election victories in the last 50 years than any other, did it by taking on the unions, floating the dollar, deregulating the economy and setting the nation up for growth.

The comical outburst of fear and loathing on the Left at losing the federal election has led to a surge of interest in moving to New Zealand. If only they would. Not only might it give us respite from their lamentations, they’d discover that their socialist utopia has negative gearing, a top personal tax rate of only 33 per cent and no capital gains tax. They might even learn that it was thanks in part to a reforming Labour government.

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