Scott Morrison must now be rueing his decision to embark on a six-week election campaign, and it appears the longer it continues, the worse his position has become. Week five of the campaign commenced with a leader’s debate which closely resembled a combination of a rugby scrum and an all-out brawl, before the sands of time put an end to proceedings, leaving the public no wiser as to who was the better performer.
This was Nine Media’s version of a leaders’ debate, and a semblance of normality returned when Seven West Media hosted the final debate: at least the studio audience was able to adequately assess the performances of the two leaders and recorded a decisive victory to Anthony Albanese – 50%, to Morrison’s 34%.
But the election is not going to won by undecided voters housed in the studios of Australia’s media moguls, and Morrison decided his best bet is to channel Donald Trump and attack lawyers, barristers – any elites will do – and push out the message that he is ‘one of the people’. Not any type of people though, but those who reside in the realms of bogan land, because it appears Morrison believes these are the people that offer him the narrowest pathway to victory: the snarlers, the anti-vaxx crowd, the disaffected, the people who believe the whole world is against them. These are not the “quiet Australians” who supposedly delivered victory to Morrison at the 2019 election, but the rowdy ones who hate everyone and everything.
However, it’s far too late. According to all published opinion polls, the Coalition is on track to record a massive election loss – thoroughly deserved – but the ghosts of 2019 are still haunting those who dare to make a definitive prediction. The most courageous words we can hear from political experts is that this election is Anthony Albanese’s to lose, but it also has to be remembered that no political party has ever come from this far behind in the final week of a campaign, and managed to win the election. Can Morrison repeat his success of 2019? It’s not impossible, but it must be close to impossible.
The worst-case scenario for the Liberal–National Coalition is a Labor majority victory, coupled with a team of teal independents who create a massive buffer between them and the Coalition, pushing government out of reach. If this scenario comes to fruition, the Coalition will be out of office for a long time.
And one of the forgotten parties of Australian politics – the Australian Democrats – is making a comeback and we speak to two of their candidates: Elena Mitchell and Steve Baty. Their halcyon days were well over twenty years ago, when they held nine Senate seats, and even if they manage to win one seat, it will complete a remarkable comeback, after losing their final Senate seats in 2008. And it seems like it’s the right time for a political force to “keep the bastards honest”, the original slogan created by the original Democrat, Don Chipp. It’s well overdue.
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