Hon Bernie Ripoll, Director
Congratulations to Prime Minister Anthony Albanese and his Labor team, particularly Deputy Prime Minister Richard Marles, Foreign Minister Penny Wong, Finance Minister Katy Gallagher and of course Treasurer Jim Chalmers from Queensland, for a great win and forming a majority government. Commiserations to all the hard working MPs who didn't make it back and thank them for their service to their constituents and our country.
There will be many reviews, reports and stories written about this election to better understand what drove the voting decisions of the Australian people. This is important because it should help shape better policy and focus the government and Parliament on their promises and priorities. Some of these stories will also be about blame and recrimination.
Such is the world of politics - it’s a messy, unkind business that hopefully teaches the painful lessons from which we can grow and produce better outcomes.
There shouldn’t be too much debate though on the matters that underscored this election - climate change (people wanting certainty and commitment on the future of the planet), a federal Anti-Corruption Commission (people wanting more integrity from our parliament) and change to the status quo (people tired of feeling like they are being taken for granted). Sure there is plenty of nuance on these matters and plenty of other matters too but thinking voters got it wrong is not the answer and has never served anyone well.
Australia, like other economies, faces enormous challenges going forward. Climate change and its impact on our world and its effect in our region. Global security that is reshaping borders, relationships and our defence positioning. Australia’s astronomical levels of debt that requires careful government expenditure on productive capacity to generate growth to maintain our expected standard of living. And cost of living and housing affordability pressures that impact more and more ordinary people. These matters are a recipe for disastrous and disproportionate outcomes for more people unable to earn more in a shrinking economy with rising inflation.
Elections tend to see a trend across the country rather than a uniform outcome across all electorates. Some seats are lost on the winning side while others are won on the losing side typically characterised by an exchange between the major parties or their coalition partner.
This election was different.
In large numbers and with big swings voters deliberately chose to move to non-major party candidates. Where voters were given a credible option they took it. These were not necessarily highly financed singular issue candidates, but articulate, smart and organised people capable of growing their base which has appeal to a broader range of ordinary people. Given their success we can only imagine this campaign to continue across more targeted seats at the next election. Even Queensland, normally quite conservative federally, has shifted in traditionally tight held major party seats.
This election outcome has all the hallmarks of reverse Trumpism with the discontented switching up the food chain rather than flooding to the lowest common denominator. Well played Australia, well played.
The Greens Party will have the balance of power in the Senate with enough votes to decide the outcome of every piece of legislation unless there is agreement between the major parties. While the Greens and independents won’t have a controlling say in the House of Representatives, their voice will be loud and profound as neither the major parties will have the 39 votes required for a majority in the Senate. Labor may face the reality of dealing with more than one opposition in trying to negotiate any outcome.
In this uncharted territory which is the new parliament, Labor will be celebrating its win with careful consideration in the enormity of the task ahead. The Liberal Party will be seriously considering who it represents and why. The National Party will be seeking a bigger say in the coalition arrangement. The Greens will be looking to stamp their Senate authority and the Teals and other independents will be demanding more say without a single voice representing their positions.
I am expecting the next three years to be far too short for any new government to deliver its program and perhaps a harsh judgement waiting for better outcomes and a better future from all elected members. No one should also expect seats gained by the Greens, Teals or others will simply come back as if this election was an aberration. Voters having now stepped over the major party voting threshold hurdle may feel a new sense of empowerment to change the future through their single vote. Young people, changing issues and changing views mean the future doesn’t look anything like the past.