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Don’t write ScoMo off, just yet

The polls are bad, they have been for a while. The Coalition’s had resignations, more than a few. The unions and Labor are organised, well organised.

On paper, the upcoming Australia Federal Election on 18 May is looking bad for the Australian Liberal-National Coalition. Six years and three Prime Ministers have exhausted the administration, which looks set to join the history books in much the same fashion as the Rudd – Gillard fiasco did in 2013.

In 2013, Tony Abbott led the Coalition to a thumping 90 (of 150) seats in the House of Representatives. In 2016, Malcolm Turnbull clung to just 76, a majority of one.

For three years since Australians have been governed by a surprisingly stable knife-edge Parliament. The Coalition might have been rewarded for this stability, if their own 76-member team hadn’t spent most of it tearing each other down.

The parallels between the political and personal divisions of the Coalition, and Labor’s 2013 defeat, strike a series of spectacular parallels; it’s as though the Coalition took that template of ‘what not to do’, and perfected it. C. S. Lewis’ famous quote, “Things never happen the same way twice,” looks set to be proven resoundingly false.

I support the Coalition. I’d be voting for my local Liberal or Nationals candidate, make no mistake. Australia will be better off if they win. But I draw the line between what I want, and what looks likely to happen.

‘Badly beaten, because Aussies were simply over their shit’, will probably be the real headline the morning after.

Probably.

All of that being said, ScoMo and his beleaguered Coalition still have runs on the board. And, those runs might just give them momentum at the ballot box few are expecting.

It’s the economy, stupid.
In mid-April the Coalition revealed a projected AU $12.9 billion surplus in the government’s accounts for the 2019-20 year, including personal income tax cuts of $9 billion. After a decade of deficits and weak budget positions, Australia is back in the black. It’s growing, and it’s giving some back to Aussie Mum and Dads. You might well ask who was Australia’s Treasurer, i.e. Minister of Finance, lately? Well, Scott Morrison, funnily enough.

Voters understand that earning more than you spend is a good thing. Would this change under Bill Shorten and Labor?

The revolving door at the Lodge.
John Howard won the 1996 Australian Federal Election in a landslide, and was Prime Minister for 11 years, until Kevin Rudd ended the party in 2007. 12 years on, Australia’s had Kevin then Julia then Kevin again then Tony then Malcolm then Scott.

Australia is world renowned for its revolving door Prime Ministership at the Lodge, in Canberra. Will middle Australians make ScoMo another casualty after just nine, admittedly not-that-bad, months at the helm?

Bill Shorten
Next time you check your insta, give @betootaadvocate a follow, it’s your one stop shop for daily Australian news memes. Choice recent meme headlines include “Labor lock Bill Shorten in [union] broom closet until May 19” and “Exhilarating growth of Parliament House lawn distracts journalists from Shorten press conference”.

The Labor Leader is not popular, never has been, and probably never will be. He typically trails Morrison by 10-15 points in preferred PM polling. If he becomes PM, it’s because the Coalition lost, not because Australians picked Shorten.

ScoMo
Contrast that with Scott Morrison, or ScoMo, as he’s affectionately and mockingly known. His media team are desperately painting a picture of an ordinary Aussie bloke, an easy-going family man, and a man who wrestled the nation’s finances back from the brink.

ScoMo has built surprising distance between his brand and that of his divided Coalition, and the knives used to take out his predecessors appear to have few of his fingerprints on them.

Labor doesn’t attack Morrison, much. They know he’s the Coalition’s greatest asset at the 11th hour, and if the Election comes down to Prime Minister-material, Morrison’s 10-15 point advantage might ring true.

So, will it all be enough? Maybe, maybe not, but it definitely seems premature to write ScoMo off, just yet. He’s got enough going for him to warrant a fair shake of the sauce bottle on 18 May (mate).

 

Stefan Sunde

Former President of the NZ Young Nats

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