Flat White

#Auspol: rinse and repeat

10 June 2022

2:00 PM

10 June 2022

2:00 PM

Here’s my free election analysis that won’t get me on a panel show where people shout about their feelings or have you marching in the street like some private school cry-baby sobbing over the carbon emissions of their polo mallet: the Coalition had three terms in office and this is about the maximum any federal government ever gets. Now, the other guys win and get two terms and if they’re any good maybe three, but that’s about it and then they will probably lose. 

It’s the cycle of life. The tribe has spoken. Rinse and repeat.

Some are saying it’s a catastrophe! For others, it’s the second coming of Gough. Please make your mind up. The always-amusing Crikey says, ‘Climate action voter rebellion.’ Annabel Crabb goes tilty-head and announces it’s a rage amongst women in the community. The influential political blog Weekly Dish, headlines, Can a cult become a movement? but are probably commenting on something important and American, like Scientology or Maverick’s aviator sunglasses rather than the rise of the independents. 

This analysis seems more of a damp squib, like a Tim Flannery weather prediction, than the revolution, with Labor’s primary vote also tanking and the main Liberal seats falling often being those of pro-climate action moderates who were desperately trying to do the right thing by Malcolm or Matt.

Maybe the Liberals lost because they embraced Net Zero and lost their point of difference, not despite it… I’m not saying ‘I’ think this, though some people are and we should always believe the political science. This doesn’t mean there aren’t lessons to be learned, but everything in moderation, please. Even if you’re not really moderate but only pretending so that you get elected in a swing seat. Well, you know what I mean.

The mainstream media, Annabel Crabb, and the Radio National presenter who disco dances in a sad search for a youth demographic that discarded disco long ago (and any other functioning cog of this ideological Scoob-Doo van) have a vested interest in maintaining the ‘it’s a conservative catastrophe’ narrative. From a media perspective, it keeps people watching – a political man bites dog story without the colourful chew toy or Clive Palmer. Saying it’s a car crash, possibly with fatalities from the Shire, is more likely to turn heads than saying someone’s Tesla just got a ticket for double parking after it ran out of plausibility. 

Even amongst the finest intellects of our political generation (now, there’s a low bar), where the journalists all act like game show hosts during media conferences, if it bleeds it leads. 

Secondly, because in politics there always is a second thing which is usually just repeating the first thing, of course saying your win is a massive victory, your opponent crushed and you’re here to save the world, gives you momentum. It’s clever politics that any newly elected government will use as they try to get their agenda enacted. Just like Kevin Rudd after he stopped pretending to be Howard-lite (borrrring) and became Kevin 007 (exciting!) or even when we all found out he frequented Scores (#Iblamerupert). 

What I really want to say is that everyone bangs on about the Teals and what it all really means. 

Rather than a brave new world, the Teals’ success was tactical, not messianic. As we’re always saying while shopping for free-range throw rugs at Toorak’s Tok H Centre, it’s all about the power, dahhling. Like any good tactician, Climate 200 craftily picked seats they could win to get the change they wanted, bugger the ideological inconsistency. Besides, as my footy coach always said when we were 10 goals down going into the final quarter: ideological purity is for losers. 

Maybe we need to kick long too even if it’s pouring rain, a muddy paddock, and into the wind due to Climate Change. Conservatives complaining about Teal’s only targeting Liberal-held seats are missing the point and will probably continue to be electorally outsmarted if they don’t stop complaining and do something about it pretty quickly.

Well, at least in the next three years, or before the climate apocalypse. Whichever comes first.

Simon is not the messiah or even a very naughty boy. What he and the Teals remind me of is that preference whisperer guy back in 2013 that found loopholes in our political system that eventually made Jacqui Lambie a regular on the Today Show. Or maybe those nerdy lawfare-types who glue themselves to the road while preaching the apocalypse and thinking up Minecraft workarounds.

Whether you’re Laura, Annabel, in-denial RN disco dancer, Preference Guy, or Simon the Likeable, it’s these inspiring Aussie tales of Aussie Aussieness that make our democracy great and we never want to lose this. Especially to the Chinese, even if they offer to build us a zero-interest Darwin port (please don’t ever, ever do this again). 

Failing that, go buy a hubristic commemorative ‘I Won’ vanity t-shirt and give somebody’s ego a nudge. Let’s face it, that’s really what this whole thing is about. It’s democracy at work. Rinse and repeat.

Michael Scammell doesn’t know if it’s a catastrophe but is pretty sure it’s the apocalypse.

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