While it was clear that former Prime Minister Scott Morrison was on the nose, and that it seemed likely that the Coalition would lose the election, it was unexpected that it would be such a drubbing. The Coalition was reduced to their lowest proportion of seats in the House of Representatives since the Liberal Party first ran in a federal election in 1946.
I have spoken to many people about the election, and after the result became clear that the Coalition had been booted out (emphatically), almost all of them said that they experienced an overwhelming feeling of relief that Scott Morrison and his malevolent government were gone, and perhaps the Liberal Party was in terminal decline. This feeling of profound relief was something I noticed within myself. I felt like an enormous metaphorical weight had been lifted off my shoulders. I felt much more relaxed and have stopped shouting at the television as much as I used to. I am enjoying life more than I used to, without the concern that Morrison might appear on television and start spouting drivel again, or that he or one of his minions might use the dog whistle again, or waste many millions attempting to pork-barrel their way to electoral success, or avoid responsibility or blame for a disaster of his own making, or steal credit from someone who deserved it. It was relief was that this country no longer had a government of which I and many others were ashamed.
While the 2019 election result was essentially a standard Labor vs Coalition stoush that the Coalition managed to win, the 2022 election was a vastly different event, not just for the fact that the Teal Independents won several seats and the Greens increased their primary vote significantly. An analysis of the election and comparing it to the 2019 result by the Australian Broadcasting Corporation is fascinating (please check it out, it is an extraordinary analysis) as it looks at various parameters which seemed to clearly show changes in voting trends from one to the other1. This analysis shows the following:
- Compared to the 2016 election, in 2019 there was a very pronounced swing against the Coalition in seats which had a higher proportion of voters who listed climate change as the most important issue. This trend continued into the 2022 election1.
- When compared to distance from the nearest capital city, between the 2016 and 2019 elections, the seats distant from capitals swung towards the Coalition, while those nearer the capitals had a slight swing away. This trend continued in 2022, but the swings against the Coalition in the capitals were much stronger1.
- For seats where more people considered the most important issue to be the economy, in 2019 these seats tended to swing towards the Coalition. However, in the 2022 election, this trend reversed, with those same seats swinging fairly strongly against the Coalition1.
The last of these three is the most surprising as it seems that the belief that the Coalition are good at managing the economy is well and truly dead, despite some journalists continuing to spread such drivel2. Given that journalists keep spreading it, this makes you wonder why so many of the voters of Australia have finally caught on. Could it have been due to the Coalition increasing the Commonwealth net debt by an enormous amount before the pandemic arrived in early 20203; or because they issued a mug with ‘back in black’ months out from a budget which turned out to have a deficit rather than a surplus, such that the mugs had to be quietly removed from their online shop4; or because they buggered up JobKeeper with no provision to claw back the funding from companies that either did not suffer any drop in income, or increased their income5; or because Barnaby Joyce was given $675,000 as a ‘drought envoy’ and produced no report6; or because the corruption is seemingly endemic in the Coalition parties with so many instances, it took me 12 instalments to list them all7,8; or because of the billions of dollars simply used for pork barrelling, to buy votes9.
It is good to see that the truth finally made its way out to the voters, but the fact that this myth took so long to be debunked is an indictment of the Australian mainstream media (excluding Murdoch, which is the PR branch of the Liberal Party), and may indicate that the independent media, which has been highlighting such appalling betrayals of the Australian people, is much more important than it used to be, and like the Liberal Party, the mainstream media may be in terminal decline. Could it be that it has in part lost the trust of the punters? If that is the case, it will be hard to regain that trust.