Contributed by Joe Montero
This weekend’s election result in Victoria was largely a continuation of what happened in May’s federal election, combined with some state factors. Overall, the political landscape has changed. Citizens are no longer prepared to accept the words of political leaders.
They don’t trust them and want action rather than talk. They are turned off negative campaigns that offer no change that resolves he economic hardship they are facing, creates a fairer society, and seriously takes on carbon emissions reduction in the face of the impact of climate change. They want decisive and forward-looking leadership.
Image from Getty: Australians are facing increasing hardship and want real answers
None of this is new. But this year has seen it reach a new level, and those active in our communities are blinded when they are not aware of it.
The Liberal Party has proved again to be the most incapable of coming to terms with this and has suffered humiliation at the poll. Its primary vote fell to below 30 percent. They focused on generating hate and offered nothing but a repetition of what they offered at the federal election. This had been rejected in May and was rejected again.
Labor has increased its majority from 27 seats in the 88-member parliament. But it is not all roses. Labor’s primary vote fell by 5.6 percent across the state. The votes didn’t go to the opposition. This is the main character of the election.
A significant swing went towards the Greens, who have picked up at least 2 new seats in Melbourne and are up to the wire in a few others. It is highly significant that they won big swings in working class in the west and north of Melbourne. They also did well in a range of traditionally Liberal held electorates. Put it together and it suggests a lot of community appeal in what they have to offer.
Independent teals in a few electorates have come awfully close to toppling sitting Liberal Party members in their traditionally core support bases, mostly in the east of the city.
The count is continuing in a few seats.
Behind the result is the reality of failing faith in the exiting political institutions, and the perception of widespread corruption. There is a basis for both. The political institutions are failing to deliver on the key issues and the major players within them are intimately grafted onto the interests of the most privileged.
Most of Victoria, like the rest of Australia, wants change. There is no going back to where it was. They want to be listened to and have their important concerns addressed, and they will keep on turning away from the traditional parties that do not deliver on this.
This is a situation that provides opportunities to promote new answers that can gain currency with the population. There is broad agreement on putting an end to neoliberalism and moving towards an economy and society that are about people first, about bringing us as a people together, about doing more to work with each other, s building equality, and shifting to sustainability.
The point is to consolidate this and take the next step. This is true for Victoria and for the rest of Australia, and it goes much further than electoral politics, to encompass change in all aspects of our society.