Last Friday, The Pen published a contribution that suggested a Labor win at Saturday’s state election in Queensland would be the best result.
Although the counting hasn’t quite finished yet in thirteen seats, it looks as if Labor will end with a majority. Only four more are required.
The Pen is zealous about maintaining its independence of all political parties. Nevertheless, in this instance, the preferred option for Queensland and the rest of Australia was perfectly clear and this is why the position put forward by a contributor is being backed by an editorial comment.
We are living in an age of growing uncertainly. An economic mess, loss of opportunity, loss of trust in those in the corridors of power, seen as not listening to the punter in the street, means that many Australians are looking for alternatives. Queensland is very much part of this change.
Some are attracted to a form of negative politics that turns on blaming the innocent. A part of this has formed around One Nation and another part has formed within the Coalition’s Liberal and National parties and other groups. In Queensland, the Coalition parties are merged into the Liberal National Party.
When it comes to One Nation, a distinction must be made between the support base and the leadership. The support base has genuine concerns, and if truth be said, these are mostly similar to the concerns of other Australians. They want a fair go, an end to perks for only the privileged, decent work, a future for their kids, decent housing and up to standard government services.
The leadership has manipulated dissatisfaction, and there is a lot of evidence that points to the Murdoch empire having a hand in this, to sidetrack it down the blind alley of the politics of hate. .
The main danger posed by the Queensland election was that if it had been successfully used by this leadership, to consolidate and bring closer together various strands representing politics of hate, it would have brought considerable harm to many people.
The risk had to be stopped and it has been for now.
In the immediate sense, the Queensland vote was always going to be a test on whether there was going to be a block on the further rise of the politics of hate. The result speaks for itself.
Others are looking for an answer that focuses on fairness, inclusiveness, living sustainable within our environment and empowering ordinary people. The tide is against neoliberalism and austerity, for an end to large scale corporate tax evasion and curtail negative actions of the banks, the widening gap between the haves and have nots for sharing the wealth of this country fairly and to put to an end Australia’s contribution to global warming.
The Greens are a beneficiary of this. At the same time, this is a rising trend within the Labor party and even within the ranks of the Coalition.
The Labor Party in Queensland does not have a good record and is the closest replica of the Coalition parties in the country. This is its major electoral liability. Queensland Labor has an unequalled reputation, at least in terms of Labor, of having close ties to the mining companies and much too influenced by them. If not for this, Labor is likely to have won this election by a major landslide.
After being returned to government in Queensland, there is an expectation that Labor will deliver. To do this it needs to turn its back on being a pale imitation of the Liberal National Party and make a real difference. Failure to do this will mean a failure to deliver and this will mean erosion of its support base.
There is immediate concern about support for Adani, the Carmichael Coal Mine and the rail link to Abbots Point and whether there will be action to save the Great Barrier Reef. Will the scourge of rising corruption in Queensland politics be taken on? Will there be a shift from favouring the big end of town, towards listening and standing for the real battler?
By getting 12 percent of the vote, the Greens have experienced a rise in their support base and they are in a good position for this to grow further.
Although they also got 12 percent of the vote, for One Nation the result was a disaster, given the amount of media promotion and resources they enjoyed. They were expected to walk away with a handful of seats and it turned out they will be lucky to have one. This was supposed to be where One Nation advanced to a new stage of electoral success and established a foundation for an alliance with the Coalition around the twisted world view of its leadership. It did not materialise.
One undeniable fact remains. One quarter of the electorate rejected the major parties. If the expected rise in the number of informal votes materialises, many of them can be added to the ranks of the alienated.
A growing part of Queensland remains unsatisfied and this will be a key driver of Queensland politics for the foreseeable future. What makes it even more important is that this similar to what is going on around the rest of Australia.
We are living in times where the risks are greater. So are the opportunities for progressing toa much better future.