Contributed from Victoria
I thought I’d write down a few thoughts on the coming federal election. This one is more important than usual. Australia faces a combination of deep-seated signs of economic crisis and the impact of the pandemic. Neither can be separated from the beginnings of a political crisis.
Everyone knows that trust of political leaders and parties is eroding. Further than this. Faith in the political parliamentary and public institutions is falling. There is a sense that all are out of step with the interests of most of the population, and the popular wisdom, is that official corruption has become endemic.
Scott Morrison and his government are extremely unpopular. But even though Morrison being regarded to be an arrogant liar, and his government overseeing a fall in living standards, being an international joke on the climate issue, divisive on gender and sexual orientation issues, and more, there is no landslide towards their major parliamentary opponents.
Labor has its own problems. It too is infected, by the increasing distrust and shifting away from the major parties et al. It’s not seen to offer a solid alternative. The next election should be a walk-in for Labor. It won’t be.
If we don’t accept this dynamic of an emerging political crisis, it will be impossible to deal with what is coming.
The best immediate outcome of the election would be the fall of the Morrison government. This would mean the coming of an Albanese led Labor government. There is only one other realistic alternative emerging from a fall of the Morrison government. This is a minority labour government, which will force a coalition or at least some form of alliance with the greens and independents.
Labor on its own will lead to minimalist change. There will undoubtedly be some improvements, although the present trajectory of Australian politics will not change. This will remain a battle e win. A coalition or alliance will mean striking some deals to incorporate some of the polies of Labor’s allies. This may bring about a little more change.
Those who believe there is an entirely different option for this election are living a fantasy. Materialising such an option would mean having a big enough and organised movement that can put itself at the centre stage of Australian politics. This doesn’t exist.
The fall of the Morrison government would bring some new hope to Australia and working towards it would provide a platform for new and innovative ideas. To topple the Morrison government, a Labor or Labor led government is necessary.
Either will bring their own problems. If Labor on its own falls short of expectations, public faith will dissipate quickly. A coalition or alliance will bring a measure of instability. The already elevated level of public distrust will make sure that no new government will have an easy time.
The main problem is where to from here?
Rising distrust is not bad. It signals an aspiration for change. There are various views on what this change should be. There is also a point of unity. What exists at present is not good enough to meet the needs of Australian society, and in this lies the possibility to bring about a more fundamental change. The Australian political scene is changing. It is up to all of us to seize the moment and work towards ensuring that the fall of Scott Morrison helps to propel Australia towards a possible and better future.