‘No-one saw it coming,’ the shocked commentariat claimed. Goodness. Where are the ABC’s fact checkers when you need them? In their absence, as Lady Bracknell would say, ‘On an occasion of this kind it becomes more than a moral duty to speak one’s mind. It becomes a pleasure.’ In the first week of April, when the pundits were already measuring up solar panels for the Lodge, The Spectator Australia warned that if Mr Shorten couldn’t explain his electric Kool-Aid car fantasies, he’d end up like a latter-day John Hewson, crying into his birthday cake. Mr Shorten’s boosters crowed that he had laid out his all his crazy economic prescriptions as if that made him more electable; we said it was the sloppiest suicide note in Australian political history.
Why did so many journalists get it so wrong? One need only listen to the national broadcaster, whose employees are mystified when anyone accuses them of bias. One of its high-profile hosts branded the election result ‘an act of collective madness’ and called the government a ‘malevolent, ignorant and corrupt version of the Trump administration.’
As for the opinion polls, anyone who wonders why they’re predictions are so poor, should consider the case of a sub-contractor at the state-owned port of Gladstone in Queensland. He had the misfortune to cross paths with the Opposition leader at a highly choreographed ‘meet and greet’ for the nightly news cameras and merely asked whether Labor was planning a tax cut for tradies in the top income bracket. The answer, which should have been ‘Not on your nelly,’ was the sort of shilly-shallying which explains why Mr Shorten is called Shifty. The next day, the man lost his job. It may be of some comfort to him to know that Mr Shorten is now also unemployed but when the price of embarrassing a Labor hopeful in an election campaign is instant dismissal, is it any wonder that voters keep their views to themselves?
Mr Shorten, who stunned the nation with the length of his victory lap after he lost the 2016 election, grasped reality more promptly, this time. Perhaps the sound of knives being sharpened in the caucus helped to focus his mind. After the hubristic hoopla in Blacktown town hall, it turned out that it was not ‘It’s time’ but time’s up and the man who would be Whitlam ended his political career enduring a rerun of Don’s Party.
The untimely demise of Bob Hawke, which led papers to predict a Second Coming on Saturday, discovered Mr Shorten was not the Messiah, just a very naughty boy. Unsurprisingly, no-one ever mistook the Man from Moonee Ponds for the Boy from Bankstown; unlike Mr Keating, Mr Shorten’s grasp of economics is so tenuous that he was able to lament in the same breath that the price of everything was going up and that inflation was zero. Having declared that those voters who were worried about the economic cost of his climate policies were ‘dumb’, suburban Australians revealed at the ballot box that the feeling was mutual. Mr Shorten can now reflect that the true cost of his reckless climate capers was the prime ministership; a price somewhat higher than he had hoped to pay.
Mr Turnbull, who was probably planning to be president in Labor’s Green Banana republic, will be disconcerted that ‘the act of madness’ which led to his removal as prime minister was endorsed by Australian voters. He spent the campaign doing his best to get Mr Shorten over the line, with strategically-timed tweets, illustrating in utterances of 140 characters or less, why he would have lost the election if he were still PM. Mr Shorten even speculated that Mr Turnbull was the mystery punter who placed $1 million on the ALP to win, as if the placing of bets was a donation to his cause. Of course, there are plenty of wealthy investors who were salivating at the millions to be made under Labor’s 50 per cent renewable energy target. They also cashed up GetUp! to target any MP in a marginal seat standing between them and their renewable money machines. At those in safe seats who have used the implacable logic of economics to protect the public purse from ruinous Green schemes, they hurled mud.
It was no doubt a bitter draught the rent-seekers drained as they watched Peter Dutton, who is unapologetic about his part in Mr Turnbull’s downfall, revelling in the sweetest victory; they’d done their dough, GetUp got a lesson in democracy, and Operation Ditch Dutton was Trumped, so to speak, by the veteran of Operation Sovereign Borders.
Some have unfairly called Turnbull’s son a Turncoat or a Turncalf, but he was never a Liberal. His campaigns in support of angry ex-Liberals and rich lister Independents are however a portent of things to come. They appealed to the wealthiest suburbs where ‘real action on climate change’ is code for more money for merchant bankers. Mr Abbott was valiant in tackling the vested interests which have flourished in the climate of hysteria about global warming. While Wentworth has, momentarily, returned to the Liberal fold, Warringah has followed its self-proclaimed ‘climate leader,’ Zali Steggall, wandering into the wilderness. Mercifully, the last hope of the Left, that Green Independents might be calling the shots from the crossbenches, has not materialised. For most, their 15 minutes of fame are over, and the nation will not be forced to listen to Mr Oakeshott for even one minute let alone seventeen.
Mr Morrison called the Coalition victory a miracle, but it was a triumph for common sense not divine intervention. Labor waged its class war against the top end of town but tradies were smart enough to see that it had hard hats as well as top hats in its sights. Its pretence at supporting the Adani coal mine in Queensland but not in Victoria fooled no-one and disgusted ordinary people who understand the importance of the resource sector to Australia’s economy. Mr Bowen’s advice to older Australians not to vote Labor if they didn’t like their superannuation earnings being taxed turned out to be the top tip of the campaign. A nation of homeowners recognised that an attack on housing investors would drive down the value of their most important asset.
It’s been a nasty shock for a lot of people. Labor is searching for scapegoats and blaming Clive Palmer. The Chinese are cranky that putting Paul Keating on their payroll didn’t pay off. Lachrymose lefties are gnashing their teeth and wailing disconsolately about moving to New Zealand. Unfortunately, there is little likelihood of that. But if any of the above want to avoid such rude awakenings in future, the answer is simple; all they need is a subscription to this worthy journal.