It became clear to me years ago, that various political groups were successfully acting outside out democratic processes. Paul Collits in this Quadrant piece accurately describes the sorry situation of Australia’s democratic system.
We Already Know the Election Winner
Forgive me for not getting very excited by, or involved in, the current election campaign. Despite (or perhaps because of) saturation coverage of the rather mediocre national leaders who dominate proceedings and who are the most likely to influence the eventual outcome – Morrison, Shorten, Clive Palmer (incredibly) and the Nat guy whose name I may have once known but have since forgotten – the sense of occasion is almost entirely lacking. This is so even though we are constantly told this is an election of great consequence. A “fork in the road” election, no less.
On the right, the Liberals have done what they always do. They circle the wagons, attempt to bury momentarily the worst evidence of their deep and abiding disunity, claim credit for whatever positive economic news they can find, and allege that the other mob would be worse. They say that electing the Labor Party would be a disaster. That has been pretty much the Liberals’ electoral strategy over my lifetime and probably all the way back to the party’s birth in 1949. The Nats merely claim now that they “get stuff” out of Treasury for the bush. The quixotic and deeply unimpressive Palmer, seemingly now a potential kingmaker, stands for who-knows-what.
The rest of the fractured non-Coalition right merely fight over the Senate spoils. Of these parties, the Australian Conservatives represent perhaps most closely the values that once attracted conservatives to the old, “broad church” Liberal Party, but their electoral progress has barely registered on the radar and they lack cut-through leadership and a compelling, vote-gaining focus. One Nation perhaps will always be associated with its own highly visible leader, but its focus on immigration, though correct and important, is limiting and the politically incorrect edge previously owned by One Nation has gone. With Fraser Anning firing the most outrageous shots now, even Pauline is muted in impact.