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Newscorp and Victorian Liberals were just so out of touch. Just like National and Act here

Written By: - Date published: 2:17 pm, November 28th, 2022 - 12 comments
Categories: australian politics, International, Media, Politics - Tags: ,

The Liberal/Nat victory that Newscorp had been promoting in the Victorian state elections simply didn’t materialise. For some reason pandering to the loud and noisy just isn’t what it used to be. Probably it is mostly the purview of the decreasing numbers of people who still use the traditional media and who started to late to have been immunised against the idiots on the net.

Those who listen to dimwitted radio shock-jocks. Those who reference opinionated and ignorant columnists at every opportunity. They seem to live in some tower of righteous indignation talking to each other and to credulous conservative politicians. Damn boring and invariably when you talk to the single issue voters. But there simply aren’t that many of them. They’re just damn noisy. Lazy journalists and columnists hard up for stories thrive on a diet of ineffectual indignation.

Quiet Victorians spoke on Saturday night to deliver Dan Andrews another term as Victorian premier.

The deafening noise of the divisive pandemic era — leading into a toxic election campaign — had continuously amplified the voices of the angriest, most-disgruntled Victorians.

Quiet voters don’t get the headlines. They don’t make the fuss. They just get on with their lives, and they made the decision that Labor and its polarising premier were worth re-electing. 

Former prime minister Scott Morrison might have won the so-called unwinnable 2019 election on the back of what he called the quiet Australians, but it was understated Victorians that delivered Labor a historic third term.

ABC: Victorian election result a triumph for Dan Andrews and a nightmare for the Liberal Party

Most people who go to the polls just ignore loud mouths moaning. They look at how they feel about the policies of politicians and the necessary evil of having to pick those who will do the least damage and the most good. Everyone has their own loudmouthed usually old relatives. But they’re family and it is sometimes worth putting in the effort to ‘discuss’ their issues with them while bringing the talk around to their behaviour. Strangers or work colleagues – most people just let them whinge and resolve to never get caught in a corner by them.

Similarly politicians moaning about other politicians don’t even register. Columnists and radio bullshit artists seeking ratings are pretty much the same. Plus of course most people under 35 don’t even hear them because they find them boring, predicable, and quite ignorant about people looking forward decades into their own future.

There will have to be some detailed analysis of the Victorian election. But it looks like the aussie National party did ok in their rural strongholds. Labour took a hit in their working class urban strongholds – but not enough to topple members out of their seats. The Greens did ok – both from their messaging and from a monumental strategic screw up by the liberals who campaigned on “Labour last” on the preferences. So a lot of more centrist voters appear to have done their second tick to the Greens. The Teals had an impact, but not enough to get over the line in electorates. Probably because the campaign spend limits are about $AU 4300 per candidate.

The Liberals barely made any traction, despite having their parent company ( Newscorp ) giving them as much free publicity as they could. Think of NZ Herald and their policy of promoting their National subsidiary here with wall-to-wall pictures of Luxon and whatever trivial slogan he is screwing up this week.

Plus it looks like the younger voters just ignored the bullshit and voted for who they thought would do a decent job. That wasn’t loudmouth whinging.

Four years on from the soul-searching of the 2018 annihilation under Guy, the Liberal Party is wondering again what went so badly wrong.

The problems are much, much deeper than who leads the party. Liberals concede the whole party needs to be reformed and rejoin mainstream Victoria.

“We are seen to be representing the fringe,” one senior figure said.

It was clearly an issue the Coalition was aware of.

During the campaign, Guy moved to assure Victorians the Coalition was “sensible”, and in the last week, he said controversial candidate Renee Heath wouldn’t be welcome in the party room.

Despite Guy’s wishes, she’s been elected and there’s nothing stopping her from being a Liberal MP — it is a matter for the party room when it meets.

“We are dysfunctional, and we are a damaged as a brand. At federal level and at state,” another Liberal figure said.

“We’ve been given a message at consecutive state and federal elections, and we haven’t listened.”

Liberals worry that too often the party is caught out in culture wars and that the views of branch members are out of step with Victorians searching for a viable opposition.

In sport, if a team constantly fails to play finals, the playing list is overhauled.

The Liberals have achieved some renewal, with new MPs such as Jess Wilson in Kew and Sam Groth in Nepean (the only seat it has gained), but the party room continues to have MPs who have spent nearly all their careers on the opposition benches.

Structurally the Liberals may crow about in-roads in the outer suburbs, but the party is still miles off winning those seats.

It lost ground in eastern Melbourne among educated, wealthier and younger voters – several MPs lamented that only one in five young people were backing the party.

Liberals say they must modernise and connect with the communities.

On ABC radio, leadership aspirant Brad Battin told his colleagues to engage more with their colleagues, and not just rely on social media interactions.

Too many Liberal MPs were convinced they’d win the election because people on the street told them they hated Daniel Andrews. It was a self-perpetuating prophecy.

Many know that this election needs to be a line in the sand for the Liberals, and there’s palpable anger that the party, despite making the right noises, didn’t learn from previous mistakes.

ABC: Victoria’s election holds lessons for Labor, but it’s the Liberals who now face the challenge of reform

There is a lesson in this for National and Act here. You have to have a story, and that isn’t wandering around in the wilderness of the angry echo chamber that spends its time slagging off ‘Cindy’. Apart from a few old fuckwits in the parliamentary press gallery and an assortment of misogynists – who really gives a damn.

Misogyny just isn’t that interesting to younger voters or even to most people who haven’t been raised to feel self-entitled twits like Sam Uffindell and a lot of other recent National MPs.

Personally I’m looking at the poll trends and seeing that National and Act are pretty much where they were in 2017. But they have a weak policy position especially when it comes to how they are going to pay for tax cuts. They don’t appears to have any policy on climate change apart from that farmers shouldn’t pay ETS taxes like all of the rest of us do.

What in the hell is there in National to actually vote for? Because all that they ever talk about is Labour and the Greens actually doing work. More than they managed to do for 9 years in government. They even managed to screw up the one unexpected crisis that they had – the rebuild after the Christchurch earthquakes. I’d take ‘Cindy’ and the Labour/Green in any crisis. Just as the Victorian voters just did and for much the same reasons

Sure there is inflation which is a blow back from surviving the pandemic plus the imported costs from trade wars and a stupid Russian imperial invasion. But anyone who follows the news can see that. But jobs aren’t scarce, housing is actually being put in to relieve the accumulated decades of insufficent building and unlimited immigration, and some of the worst infrastructural

It isn’t like National or Act are offering viable alternate plans or even any planned policies. All we here from them is slightly muted echos of the noisy and angry and a healthy dose of simple bigotry. Act is enslaved to the nutbars and National is desperately trying to stem the flow of their supporters to Act.

Roll on the 2023 elections – they’ll likely to repeat what has been happening in Australia.

12 comments on “Newscorp and Victorian Liberals were just so out of touch. Just like National and Act here ”

  1. Mac1 1

    Good points, lprent. I'm just preparing an agenda for our LEC and this would make a good pre-election year booster and statement of the state of play.

    A good sound bite from the Victorian Premier was his bit about voting for hope, not hate.

    Hope that sense will prevail as to which side would offer better parliamentarians and policies.

    Hope that after pandemics, wars and financial downturns that demonstrated good government can continue, as in Victoria.

    Hope that Aotearoa will be governed for the vast majority of the people not for the rich, the privileged, the entitled.

    Hope that positive influences will prevail- like charity, caring, kindness, inclusion- rather then anger, distrust, exclusion.

    Hope that we are in touch as a people.

  2. Robert Guyton 2

    "wall-to-wall pictures of Luxon"

    is not helping National, imo 🙂

  3. woodart 3

    very good post. good parallels with the herald here. as you say many of the same angry misogynists are in an echo chamber, and cant imagine that they are irrelevant to most under fifty. it is a young persons world. how many 16-17 yr olds are there, currentley being told to shut up?

  4. Thebiggestfish 5

    Yes the victory the Murdoch crew was predicting didn’t materialise. But the reality is Labour and Dan Andrews only won 37% of the popular vote (Nats 35%) in the most labour state in Australia today. He’s become a truly polarising figure in Victoria. People either despise him or love him. There is no middle ground it seems after the panic. So while labour remains in power, there is hardly a groundswell of support for them.

    • Ghostwhowalksnz 5.1

      Thats primary vote only. Plus you have combined the Liberals- nationals vote. Doing the same to Labour- Greens gives a first preference total of 48%!!

      As they use a preference voting system ( in many seats the Liberals and nationals compete with a candidate each) the current estimate for the two party vote after preferences is

      labour 54.1%

      Liberal-National is 45.9%

      As well the invalid vote is quite high at around 4.5%, in some electorates its just under 10%. As voting is compulsory and they do issue fines for not voting, the intentional/accidential split is estimated as 60/40. This doesnt include the donkey vote where the candidates are numbered in the order they appear ( they are balloted so dont appear in alphabetic)

  5. pat 6

    Are we comparing apples with oranges?

    A couple of key factors to note

    .Compulsory voting …..and more importantly, timing.

    The economic conditions in mid/late 2023 are unlikely to be comparable to now.

    • tc 6.1

      Also the Matthew guy factor, like blinglish has just led them to another defeat.

      Matty has skeletons from his time as planning minister which has cost taxpayers in court challenges.

  6. Thinker 7

    And yet, one day people will delude themselves that any change is good change.

    Churchill took the Western world through an almost impossible crisis only to get dumped for telling the truth that people didn't want to hear.

    In that respect, this could be Nationals election to win. The left got us through covid but now faces criticism for what everyone knew had to be the price for not crumbling during covid but no one wants to know that anymore.

    Then there's NZ First that's making overtures to Luxon.

    IMHO what could get the left through is the people behind the throne at National who aren't as populist or as GenX as their front-people. They're giving the messages and to a postwar economy of their own mind that looks for mom-and-apple-pie solutions to complex issues.

    • Ghostwhowalksnz 7.1

      Britain had a wartime coalition government , Atlee was Deputy PM, it certainly wasnt a one man Churchill show – but then he did get to write his own history. Churchills generals have since said that he constantly interfered in the wars higher strategy with absurd ideas, almost as bad as 'the other guy'. The Norway campaign which was a military disaster, had his finger prints as Minister for the navy all over it , but learning from Gallipoli a lot of documents went missing 'tout suite'

      I dont know what you imagine is the 'truth that people didnt want to hear' that Churchill was campaigning on

  7. Jenny are we there yet 8

    This post is as comforting as a warm bath.

    But we should not relax.

    The stakes are so high that we all need to be working as hard as we can to prevent any possible return of a National Act coalition government.

    • tc 8.1

      +100 and oz still has media outside the Murdoch bubble thats referred to as voters look for context.

      Abbott and co had 3 terms bashing abc and sbs, Rupert hates free news.

      Whereas here…….dog whistling 3 strikes etc

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