The Federal Government is slowly imploding. There
is a sense of inevitability about what is happening. Right now, I
suspect, they are breathing a sigh of relief that the year has finally
come to an end and they can retreat to their electoral bunkers for six
weeks or so to regroup.
But they are unlikely get much respite. The issues they must face
after the holiday break are formidable. The resolve among the
non-government members of the senate in respect of higher education
reform and the GP co-payment appears unbreakable.
Then there is South Australia. In a state by-election
held last Saturday the result shocked even the most broad-minded of
Liberal party members. Voters appear to have handed Labor the former
safe Liberal seat of Fisher. At the very least there was an 8 per cent
As we all know, this sort of thing can spread and become contagious.
South Australians will return to the ballot box on January 31st in
another by-election, this time for another “safe” state Liberal held
seat, that of Davenport.
the Liberals thought they had Fisher in the bag, they will now be very
nervous about Davenport. Apart from Fisher giving the state Labor
government a clear majority in the lower house, the federal
ramifications are obvious, most notably the fallout from Defence
Minister, David Johnstone’s foot in mouth comments about canoes.
What a shemozzle.
I suspect there will be a lot of crystal ball gazing over the summer
break. Labor will be hoping for a relatively uneventful, peaceful time
to plan their strategy. The LNP will be praying for a tsunami-like
disaster to detract from their incompetence. The senate cross benchers
will be listening to their constituents like never before, and we the
voters, will enjoy a well-earned break from the chaos that is Canberra.
What can we expect next year?
There was a suggestion on ABC’s Insiders
last Sunday that Social Services Minister, Kevin Andrews will retire
sometime in 2015 forcing a by-election in the federal seat of Menzies.
The suggestion is that the Liberal party will endorse Peta Credlin as
its candidate to replace Andrews. Labor cannot win Menzies. That is a
mountain too high, a bridge too far. But, an independent candidate
If a grass roots community can turn a safe seat like Indi into an
independent seat that would be a true voice of the people, why could it
not be done elsewhere? Why could it not be done in Menzies? It would
take 15000 voters who supported Kevin Andrews in 2013 to change their
vote in 2014 in favour of an Independent candidate, an 18% swing.
The timing of Kevin Andrews’s departure, if it happens, will be
critical for the Liberals. Who knows what catastrophes await them in
2015? Who knows what their accident prone prime minister will do next.
Who knows what dastardly ideas about economic reform are swimming around
in Joe Hockey’s head? Who knows what Christopher Pyne will say or do if
his education reform bills are rejected yet again?
voters of Indi broke the model with Kathy McGowan at the 2013 federal
election. In the recent Victorian state election another safe National
Party seat fell to an independent. Could the disaffected voters of
Menzies do the same? It is highly unlikely but, in the words of Victor
Hugo, there is nothing more powerful than an idea whose time has come.
Mindful of their shortcomings and their standing in the polls, they
may want Andrews to go sooner rather than later. What better way to
avoid a recalcitrant electorate further destabilising government, than
to get it over and done, out of the way, as quickly as possible.
What better way for that electorate to send a message so strong that
it rocks the very foundations of a self-righteous collection of
ideological misfits. What better way to demonstrate democracy in action
than to see an independent elected to the seat of Menzies? What better
way to break bad the model.