Today is the 5th of August; it has been 90 days since the Governor-General issued the writs for the double dissolution election that the Australian people faced on July 2nd. On Monday the writs get returned and an August 30th, the 45th Parliament of Australia will finally sit. I think we can safely say it is finally over!
The longest election campaign in my lifetime has thrown up so many talking points that has sent political nerds, like myself, into a complete orgasmic frenzy. I will nail my colours to the post immediately. I am a Liberal voter; I identify as a small ‘L’ liberal; socially liberal but economically conservative. I voted Liberal in the lower house and Xenophon in the upper house here, and I numbered every box below the line.
I could spend ages talking about how the Coalition has a razor thin majority of one seat, although that could change if someone challenges the result in Herbert. I could talk about how Labor received their second lowest primary vote ever, or how the Greens lost traction in nearly every state. I could use hundreds and hundreds of words talking about how poor the election campaign was on both sides, but there is one thing that I want to focus on in this post-election coverage, and that is the revolution in Australian politics that has arrived.
We have seen a movement in the United States with The Donald being nominated as the Republican nominee and Bernie Sanders giving Hillary Clinton a real run for her money in the Democratic race. That movement has been mirrored in the United Kingdom with the Brexit vote some weeks back. The movement that I speak of is one that is an enormous shift away from the political elite; away from the major parties (and I include the Greens in that). Approximately 1.9 million voters parked their votes with parties or candidates who can be categorized as conservative. Parties such as the Australian Liberty Alliance, the Liberal Democrats, and of course, Pauline Hanson’s One Nation Party.
This speaks volumes about the opinions of the Australian people. If my maths are correct, around 11% of those eligible to vote are sick and tired of the status quo and want a change. The parties that these people moved to, and I would be safe to say that most of these are Coalition voters, voted for these parties and candidates because there is a general mood that this country cannot have a debate about issues without being shouted down by those who oppose them. We see this in the refugee debate, we see this in the Same-Sex Marriage debate, we see this in the debate about section 18C of the Anti-Discrimination Act. People are over being told how to think, what to say and how to act by the political and media elites. This is why The Donald had such momentum in the Republican Primary race. He is the ‘anti-politicians’ politician. In the Brexit vote, London, Scotland, and a fair chunk of Northern Ireland voted to remain. The rest of England and Wales voted to leave. Over there, they are sick of being dictated to by Brussels and want to take control again. Fair point. The mood here in Australia is not dissimilar.
One of the main winners of this election, if not the biggest winner, is Pauline Hanson and her One Nation Party. They have 4 senators (2 from Queensland, 1 from New South Wales, and 1 from Western Australia) coming into the new parliament and guess what, they deserve the respect to have their opinions heard and debated. Whether you agree or disagree with their policies, enough people voted for them to get 4 senators in. There is an immediate instinct for the hard left and the political and media elites to brand her racist, xenophobic and whatever else has been thrown at her. The fact of the matter is, enough people in this country agree with what she has to say and that needs to be respected.
People want to be able to have a debate on the big issues facing our nation without fear of being labelled racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic and whatever else and that is why One Nation has 4 senators. People want to be able to argue their opinions, and everyone should be able to do so; that is why our country is so great, we do not prosecute and imprison people based on free speech. However, with free speech comes a great responsibility; if people don’t agree with you then they have the freedom to rebuke and debate your opinions. This should be done with respect for both sides.
The movement is here, people are sick of being told how to shape their opinions. The evidence of that is in the makeup of the Senate cross bench: 4 One Nation Party, 3 NXT, Jacqui Lambie, Bob Day from Family First, David Leyonhelm from the Liberal Democats, and Derryn Hinch in Victoria. A notionally conservative crossbench but the result of 1.9 million conservative voters not happy with the political elite.
Written by Bradley Tanner