Commiserations to all Australian progressives, not to mention all Australian endangered species and the Great Barrier reef.
I mean WTF just happened? This was meant to be a resounding Labor victory after the appalling disunity of the last three years of Liberal disunity.
There were some positives, Tony Abbott losing to a Climate Change activist in the bluest of blue seats being one.
But Queensland was a disaster area with a reported 4% swing against Labor so far and the loss of two seats. Clive Palmer’s $60 million spend on negative advertising and giving the Libs his second preferences no doubt hurt.
And the other advertising gurilla, the Murdoch Press, also had an effect. Bill Shorten may be rueing the decision to take Murdoch on.
From Richard Glover in the Washington Post a few days ago::
In the home country of Rupert Murdoch, can a politician attack News Corp. and still win an election? The answer to that question could come as early as Saturday.
In Australia, the opposition Labor Party is poised to seize victory despite a fierce campaign from the Murdoch press. In the past, Labor leaders have tried to broker a truce with Murdoch, the Australian-born mogul whose company owns large chunks of the U.S. media, but also an estimated 59 percent of Australia’s newspapers by market share. Two recent Labor prime ministers — Julia Gillard and Kevin Rudd — both visited Murdoch in the United States, presumably bending a knee in the hope of avoiding outright hostility.
Not this time. Bill Shorten, the current Labor leader who looks likely to become prime minister after Saturday’s election, chose not to make the usual overtures.
He may have been emboldened by last year’s election in the state of Victoria, in which local Murdoch newspapers campaigned against a popular Labor premier, Daniel Andrews. Andrews won by an even higher margin than he had previously.
The failure of the Murdoch campaign in Victoria did not prevent a fresh attack on Labor during the current national election campaign. Among the Murdoch headlines in the past few days:
- Shorten’s ruthless lunge for power has been laid bare
- How much money will Aussies lose under Shorten’s plan
- Shorten stoops to new low on Morrison’s religious beliefs
But the most notable “splash” came last week, when Sydney’s Daily Telegraph offered a front-page article alleging that Shorten had overstated the difficulties faced by his mother in realizing her professional dreams.
This particular story was as much a beat up as the Herald’s attack on David Cunliffe for Donghua Liu but it no doubt had a similar effect, sucking momentum at a vital time in the campaign.
Questions will be asked about Labor’s tactics in campaigning on a somewhat radical and detailed manifesto while the Liberals campaigned on a simple slogan. And promising to address climate change while at the same time proposing significant tax changes provided multiple excuses for quiet tories to become activated.
But maybe leadership was the most important aspect. Bill Shorten clearly does not inspire the Australian people in the same way that Jacinda Ardern inspires New Zealand.
Polling methods are going to have to be reviewed carefully. Maybe with the decline of fixed telephone lines and replacement sampling techniques that are inadequate we have reached peak polling accuracy and it is now on the decline.
Shorten has stood down as leader. A recent in depth analysis suggested that Penny Wong and Tania Plibersek were the most trusted ALP politicians. I suspect the temptation to promote someone with similar leadership skills to Jacinda will be overwhelming.