If a Federal Election were held today the Morrison Government would lose office. At least that’s what the polls indicate (and they’ve never been wrong!).
The outcome of the next election could still easily go either way, but make no mistake - the Coalition is experiencing their most difficult period since the 2019 election. Frustration over the slower than expected rollout of the COVID vaccination has led many voters blaming the Commonwealth for the re-emergence of lockdowns in several states, notably the prolonged restrictions in New South Wales.
For the remainder of 2021 the Federal Government’s top priority will be to substantially increase the number of Australians vaccinated. Voters are clearly sick of the open/shut dichotomy of lockdowns during the pandemic and are yearning a return to normality. Incumbent governments have until now benefitted at election time from the uncertainty generated by COVID, however, if the Federal Government fails to pick up its game on vaccine take-up this trend could well be reversed.
The Government is also coming under increased pressure to reintroduce JobKeeper to areas such as Greater Sydney. At the time of writing, the Prime Minister has steadfastly resisted this call. Asides from the enormous cost, the Commonwealth is also concerned that a return to a generous scheme such as JobKeeper would encourage further lockdowns due to the reduced risk of mass job losses. However, the sheer fact remains that whilst Australia’s largest city remains in a prolonged period of lockdown, the economic fallout will only continue to grow.
On the Opposition side, Anthony Albanese is clearly looking to go to the next election with a different strategy to his predecessor Bill Shorten. Earlier this week, the Opposition Leader announced he was ditching several tax policies Labor took to the 2019 election. From a political perspective, this is designed to make the Opposition more appealing. It limits the ability of the Government to launch a ‘scare campaign’ by reducing the scope of measures to attack. Time will tell how effective this strategy is, but the next election (likely to be the first-half of 2022) is most certainly in play.
Written by Mitch Collier, Media and Communications Consultant