Contributed from Victoria
The mess over the handling of the Covid vaccination rollout has dented Scott Morrison’s standing within the Australian community. The latest Essential survey suggests an approval rating drop of 4 percent in a month.
One should not over rely on a single poll. But there are other indicators of growing concern over the rollout. For instance, the nurses’ union has hit out at the continuing lack of care at nursing homes and the treatment of health care workers. Most have still not had vaccines, despite being in a high risk position.
There is a growing perception of a Prime Minister doing far too little, sending out conflicting messages, and shifting the blame to others.
People are naturally concerned about their health. They are also having to deal with the personal economic cost. This has not been helped for many when the government pulled away support in the May budget. Jobs and wages continue to lag.
The failure on climate policy, despite overwhelming opinion in favour of action and the reality of the crisis we face, is another mark against Morrison and his government.
Australia does not have a popular leader and government. Yet, a popularity mirage to the contrary exists. The reason is that Labor has not been able to capitalise on the rising concern over the handling of Covid and the Coalition’s economic policies.
Let’s face it, Australia does not trust mainstream politicians. They feel let down, and their reluctance to believe in the major parties is what feeds the mirage. If you look at the numbers, the coalition consistently under polls. The disillusioned are not turning to Labor.
There are reasons for this. The political system is not delivering. There has been a consensus on neoliberal economic policies. Labor has had difficulty distinguishing itself from the coalition and has not been good at communicating with its base.
Scott Morrison has a better than odds on chance in keeping his job at the coming election, when there should be a landslide going in the opposite direction. This could change. But to do so, something’s got to give.
To see the end of Scott Morrison and the Coalition government, the immediate needs is to build an alliance for change that goes past Labor, to bringing the maximum number of forces. Within the parliament this rests mainly on an agreement on the main points between Labor and the Greens.
Outside parliament, this is building a broad movement for a better Australia, based on a credible alternative, a much better job of engaging with the population, to build real democracy, end poverty, guarantee jobs and income, the provision of much more affordable housing, in a sustainable economy fit for the future.
Critics of Labor would be foolish to deny that the first step is to get rid of the present incumbents. Only Labor has the capacity to form a new government, either on its own or in the form of a coalition. Everyone must focus on who the real enemy is.
Labor in turn, must earn its stripes. This means putting forward a clear alternative and not accommodate itself to the present regime. It must do a better job of communicating to Australia. Working out the details is a matter for widespread discussion.
The broad movement needs an economic and social plan to meet the needs of Australia. There is far too little talk about this. This could change if enough people want it to.