The Real Cause of the Coalition’s Defeat in the Australian Election
May 23, 2022Updated: May 23, 2022
The night of May 21 became a nightmare for the Coalition government that was decisively beaten by Labor and the teal independents at the election.
For once, the pollsters, who predicted a Labor win, were right in their predictions, except that the Coalition’s loss was worse than anticipated. Now, the time has come to evaluate the reasons for this spectacular loss.
Former Prime Minister Scott Morrison made many mistakes when he was the leader of his government. His much-heralded final attempt at capturing the youth vote badly misfired. In his campaign launch, he promised that the Coalition, if returned, would allow younger voters to access their superannuation for the purpose of buying their first home.
This idea, rejected by many Liberal luminaries in the past, is a questionable idea. As demand for housing would likely increase, the price of dwellings might also increase, fuelling inflationary forces, and there would be insufficient money left for a comfortable retirement when it would be needed most, necessitating reliance on government’s largesse and pensions.
One could say that it was a last-ditch and desperate effort to shore up his chances of victory in the election.
Morrison was consistently behind in the news polls, even resulting in Anthony Albanese matching him in the “preferred Prime Minister” ratings.
Julie Bishop, the former foreign minister, vitriolically claimed that Morrison lost the election because he alienated women during his tenure as prime minister. She supported her point by referring to the Grace Tame and Brittany Higgins episodes, which allegedly revealed the existence of sexual abuse against women, even in the parliament.
Of course, Bishop’s claim is simply not true because Morrison was quite committed to advancing the feminist agenda, even by attempting to boost female representation in the Liberal Party. However, by doing so, the Morrison government betrayed the conservative base who believed in meritocracy, and it disappointed “progressives” for not doing woke as well or as quickly as the Australian Labor Party (ALP) and the Greens.
Furthermore, the premise that only a woman can truly represent the interests of women in parliament was discredited last year when Foreign Affairs Minister Marise Payne claimed she had “yet to speak to her Qatar counterpart” about the invasive internal examinations Qatari authorities subjected 13 Australian women to in Doha in October 2021.
And it is rather amusing that Bishop seems so concerned about the Liberals’ demise in the federal elections since she notoriously refused to support her own female successor as Curtin MP, Celia Hammond, instead of praising and tacitly supporting teal independent Kate Chaney.
These gender-driven tirades completely ignore the real reasons for the Liberal Party’s demise, including that Morrison just did not have the leadership capabilities needed for an extended stay in the Lodge.
Of course, there is no doubt that Morrison is also a most unlucky prime minister as his term in office was plagued by many challenges, including the disastrous bush fires of 2019/2020, the continuing pandemic, and the floodings in New South Wales and Queensland. However, his lack of strong leadership went on display in his response to the pandemic.
Gideon Rozner from the Institute of Public Affairs argued that Morrison had strayed from the values of his Liberal Party. In a Q&A session televised by the ABC, he described him as the worst ever Liberal prime minister because he ramped up a trillion-dollar debt, prevented Australian citizens from returning home during the pandemic, making them stateless, and trashed freedom of speech, among other things. Rozner’s opinion points to the existence of pent-up frustration and a feeling of general powerlessness among the electorate.
Essentially Morrison’s government failed to act as a centre-right government. The outgoing prime minister espoused, or condoned, left-leaning policies and actions.
His first reaction to a challenging situation was always to make unwise comments, which could as well have been made by any left-wing advocate. His comments on the Israel Folau case, calling Folau’s religiously inspired comments “insensitive,” his condemnation of Australia’s Post’s CEO, Christine Holgate, before getting the full picture, and his condemnation of Cardinal George Pell, assuming his guilt, are merely examples of the repertoire of gaffes and left-wing rhetoric that alienated the conservative base of the Liberal party.
Perhaps, the most important reason for the government’s defeat is the lack of trust that people have in their political leaders. Indeed, from now on, they will never be certain that, what happened during the dark days of the pandemic, will not happen again in the future.
In conclusion: Morrison was appointed to his level of incompetence, and it has cost Australia dearly. It has condemned the proud legacy of Sir Robert Menzies’s party to a long period of opposition.
In a keynote speech delivered on Jan. 21, 1943, ironically about the founding principles of the Liberal Party, Menzies expressed his belief that the progress of this nation did not depend on the security a government can provide but instead on “a free individual living in a free community with a free tomorrow in front of him or her.” Of course, he would be appalled to see what has become of the party he founded.
Scott Morrison is now gone, but as is stated correctly in Liberal television advertising during the election, “Life won’t be easy under Albanese.”
Views expressed in this article are the opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Epoch Times.
Gabriël A. Moens AM is an emeritus professor of law at the University of Queensland, and served as pro vice-chancellor and dean at Murdoch University. In 2003, Moens was awarded the Australian Centenary Medal by the prime minister for services to education. He has taught extensively across Australia, Asia, Europe, and the United States. Moens has recently published two novels “A Twisted Choice” (Boolarong Press, 2020) and “The Coincidence” (Connor Court Publishing, 2021).
Augusto Zimmermann is professor and head of law at Sheridan Institute of Higher Education in Perth. He is also president of the Western Australian (WA) Legal Theory Association and served as a member of WA’s law reform commission from 2012 to 2017. Zimmermann is an adjunct professor of the University of Notre Dame Australia, and has co-authored several books including COVID-19 Restrictions & Mandatory Vaccination—A Rule-of-Law Perspective (Connor Court).
Comment by Nelle-Once again the feminists want to take centre stage-the three women mentioned=two were up to no good and blamed the men involved but the truth does not reflect that -as for Julie Bishop she is a traitor of the first order and with Turnbull raised our debt to mammoth proportions and just gave the money to foreign nations while Australians were in dire straits- Julie helped all the middle east nations but refused to take in white farmers in danger of being slaughtered -she is a piece of work and we are still paying her an outrageous pension while she continues with her mission to see the demise of Australia