Are conservatives irrelevant in the 21st century? Jennifer Wilson reports.
The extraordinary Queensland election result saw former LNP Premier
Campbell Newman lose his seat, and the ALP chuck an unprecedented
Lazarus and rise, as gobsmacked as was anybody looking on, from its cold
political grave. Newman’s government lasted just one term, after the
largest win in political history by his party left the Queensland ALP
with just seven seats. Now the voters have seriously turned. You could
not make this stuff up.
In November, Victorians threw out their LNP government, also after only one term, and returned the ALP to power.
In NSW we have an election in March, and LNP Premier Mike Baird is likely apprehensive.
It’s early days, but what seems apparent at first blush is that
increasingly, Australians don’t care for the conservative method of
governance. In general, we don’t take to entitled, privileged bullies
fattening themselves and their besties at the taxpayer trough while
simultaneously stripping us of public assets, and grinding into the dirt
those who can least afford any further grinding. Unrestrained
self-interest does not go down well with the Australian public, it would
Neither do we take to blatant liars in our governments, nor to
arrogant, dismissive leaders who think power means they never have to
explain, and account for their actions.
As all of the above traits are endemic in the current conservative
personality, and as the voters aren’t willing to tolerate them for
longer than one term, the LNP state and federal may well be looking at
some time in the wilderness of opposition, having had a brief and
turbulent taste of their utter lack of relevance to 21st century
The ALP ought not to become over-confident. All too often the party
has shown an alarming tendency to go along with what are essentially
conservative ideas, to the point where many of us have fallen prey to a
chronic despair that has expressed itself in the phrase “There’s no
bloody difference between the two major parties.” There’d better be a
bloody difference, and if ALP politicians state and federal have any
sense, they will be taking a good look at resurrecting the party’s core
values, and listening hard to what voters are telling them.
Increasingly, voters appear to be willing to give governments only
one chance. ‘Til very recently, our attitude was to give them a second
go in a second term. We seem to be on the cusp of a significant change
in that attitude. This may well have to do with retribution. If our
major parties don’t give so many of us a fair go, why the bloody hell
should we extend that generosity to them?
For mine, it would be a great advancement if politicians were as a
first principle capable of remembering their job is to serve the people,
and not the other way round. I don’t know how many arses need to get
hit by the door on the way out before they grasp that fundamental
article of their job description.
This article was first published on No Place For Sheep.