Contributed by Joe Montero
As the dust settles down from the 28 May election result, there can be denying that the Coalition were delivered into government through a combination of the manipulation of an undemocratic electoral system, money to buy votes and an unprecedented and dishonest propaganda campaign led by Rupert Murdoch’s media empire.
We know, and this is backed by his own admission, Clive Palmers’ United Australia Party was a vehicle to re-channel the protest vote back to the Coalition.
We should understand that all of this took place, because the handful at the top, feared that their ability to carry out business as usual could be affected by the fall of the Morrison government.
They made sure that this didn’t happen.
One could easily respond pessimistically, blame the whole of Australia, throw in the towel and make comments about leaving the country.
Besides missing what is really going on, this is hardly productive. And there are solid grounds, for suggesting that we are about to embark on a journey, which has a potential to turn the situation around.
All the underlying factors creating an increasingly unstable economy and producing clear signs of emerging social dissatisfaction, are still there and are likely to intensify in the time ahead.
The down side is that it will bring suffering to a lot of people. The up side is that it will create opportunities to move forward to a better future.
But to take advantage of the potential, we must come to terms with what really happened at this election, and not be sucked in by the smoke and mirrors.
First of all, a quick review of the immediate implications of the election result. Then we can deal with some ideas about how we can respond collectively.
To its credit, Labor did promise to act on the tax evasion industry and redress some of the widening gap between the haves and have nots.
On the other hand, Labor failed to do enough to involve people insufficient numbers, to create a political movement with a clear vision, and opted for a leave it to us style of politics. Nor did Labor do nearly enough to explain what it was proposing, and the connection between creating a fairer society and a stronger economy with more jobs and sustainability.
The greens did more, but only had a limited capacity to bring it into effect.
In the context of what is going on in Australian society, the policies put forward were quite modest. But even modest change was too much for those behind the Coalition to contemplate.
Why? Because the economy is sick and likely to get worse in the near future. The income share at the top has been maintained by reducing the income share of everyone else. A further deterioration in the economy, will mean a new drive to redistribute income upwards even more severely than we have experienced so far. This is what is being prepared for.
Reduction in corporate tax rates is part of this. Although dropping the rate will not mean that corporations as a whole will pay less tax, given that many of them already pay none at all or very little. The reduction is aimed at legitimising more tax breaks and government handouts to the wealthiest. If the corporate tax cut is implemented, it will be quickly followed by further perks.
Even more important, is the intention to further erode wages and conditions at work, and increase casualisation, in what is the traditional method of squeezing labour to raise the bottom line.
This is why the major employer organisations called for more action on this front, even before the ink dried on the ballot papers. They are the major backers of the Coalition parties and we can expect quick action on this front.
The main obstacle is the existence of a union movement with the organising capacity to put a break on it. These employer organisations are demanding action to remove this obstacle and leaving the worker on the job isolated and vulnerable. We can expect quick action on this front too.
A move against unions will not stop there. Community and activist organisations fighting for those they represent are also targeted. GetUp has already been mentioned.
The greatest fear of those who manipulated the election, is the potential that growing numbers of Australians are fed up with the way our political leaders are behaving, the sense of growing corruption of the political establishment, the way the banks have been allowed to do as they like, the growing hardship so many are experiencing, the cost of housing, and failure to address the threat of global warming, may demand much more.
More people are realising that the say is not in the hands of the majority, but in the hands of a small minority.
Australia wants action to resolve these matters.
On this occasion, dissatisfaction, plus the growing insecurity of many, were manipulated to produce an election outcome that most of Australia did not want.
It is the number one reason why the polls did not match up with the result, and this is what must be exposed.
The expectation that needs will be met will continue, and a worsening situation will intensify dissatisfaction within the Australian community. providing opportunities to raise a vision of a better future and get on with the job of organising people to make a difference.
The failures from this time around must be learned from.
And the starting point, is to start the discussion, on how we build new organisational forms in our communities and workplaces. These are critical to the rise of a movement from below, which involves huge numbers in its ranks.
We must understand that putting all the eggs in the basket of the next election is not going to win the day. The battle must be fought, first of all in real life. Improvements must be won. People must learn that they can be confident that with others, they have real power. They must feel that they are part of a movement and not just bystanders looking on.
If these changes aren’t made, we will continue to on the same treadmill and get nowhere in a hurry.
The question is, are we up for the challenge?