The 2016 federal election has proven yet again that treachery and retribution are certainties in politics. TMR looks at where and how they were served.
Turnbull has found out the hard way that if you:
- knife an elected leader;
- don’t quickly call a honeymoon election afterwards;
- tell your party’s voting base that it doesn’t matter;
- repeatedly dither and flatulate on policy (e.g. GST, negative gearing, super and state income tax);
- foist an eight week election on everyone – in which you don’t seek a mandate for anything of substance;
- run arguably the laziest election campaign in history;
- refuse interview requests – often purely out of spite; and
- overall, cynically attempt to make yourself as small a target as possible (a strategy that opposition leaders are supposed to use – not Prime Ministers),
…then people are going to find you out – and you’re going to have a bad time.
Australia has delivered Turnbull the retribution which he so thoroughly deserved.
It is inconceivable that he could possibly weather this electoral catastrophe and hold on as Prime Minister for the next three years. He should be finished within a year.
If so, then good riddance.
Who would have thought that telling people that they don’t matter could be harmful to your election campaign?
Shortly before the election, I said that these words could come back to haunt Textor and Turnbull:
“The qualitative evidence is they don’t matter,’’ Mr Textor said. “The sum of a more centrist approach outweighs any alleged marginal loss of so-called base voters.’’
Unsurprisingly, they did. The delcon base took note and acted as you’re about to see.
Punishing Turnbull wasn’t enough.
The Liberal base wanted to deliver the strongest possible message that the party had moved too far to the left – and did so by delivering one of the most co-ordinated, intelligently crafted, ruthless and effective electoral campaigns of retribution I have ever seen.
It all started with the preselection process, with Turnbull plotters and backers such as Dennis Jensen and Chopper Bishop being denied their safe seats. Then came the resignations of Mal Brough, Phil Ruddock, Sharman Stone and Teresa Gambaro. For good measure, David Johnston was relegated to no. 6 on the Liberal’s WA Senate ticket.
Before you knew it, Andrew Bolt’s dart board was starting to take shape with the plotters, backstabbers and bed wetters being picked off one by one.
Then came the election.
Full credit must go to stopturnbull.com and its recommended voting strategy:
Eliminating left-faction leaders in the Liberal Party
In the normal course of events, you should give the Liberal Party your second preference, below a reputable conservative minor party, but if you’re in a seat with a notorious and influential leftist-‘progressive’ Liberal, who uses their party room influence to push the party to the left, you should put them LAST in your preference list, below Labor.
You need not be squeamish about this. Replacing an influential Liberal leftist-‘progressive’ with a Labor leftist-‘progressive’ is a net gain for conservatives because ‘progressives’ lose influence in the Liberal party room.
I was of the view that it would be too much to expect widespread take up of this strategy. I was wrong. Like an owl plucking a rat out of the snow, conservative voters skilfully picked off and ate plotters such as Wyatt Roy, Fiona Scott and Peter Hendy. As I write this, Luke Simpkins also looks like losing his seat in Cowan.
Adding to the retribution were countless lifelong Liberal volunteers who boycotted candidates like Hendy during the campaign and on election day. Now, I’m no Mark Textor, but if a candidate in a marginal seat like Eden-Monaro barely has anyone handing out how-to-vote cards or sizzling sausages for them on election day, then they’re going to struggle.
The anti-delcon media
When socialist-left publications such as The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age advocate a vote for Turnbull, then you know there’s a problem (PS: can you guess why they may not have advocated a vote for Shorten?).
That aside, the anti-delcon media needs to have a good look in the mirror. The 2016 federal election emphatically showed how they entirely misread the mood of the public – and grossly underestimated how many people still hold conservative and small government values. In particular, Nikki Savva’s cheese completely slid off her cracker when she baselessly attacked Tony Abbott and Peta Credlin via her book in March 2016 (PS: her husband is a Malcolm Turnbull staffer).
Then came the ‘delcon’ tag.
Giving a group of almost two million Australians a derogatory and ad-hominem epithet of this nature was disrespectful, pointlessly inflammatory and simply out of touch. That is, something you would expect from the inner-city left intelligentsia and not people claiming to be from the real world. The public delivered a stinging rebuke to this rubbish and won’t pay money to read much more of it in publications such as The Australian.
Thankfully, Miranda Devine appears to have realised this.
As for Abbott, he managed his public image to perfection during the campaign – always appearing to be supportive. However, it would be naive to think that he didn’t play a significant part behind the scenes.
Maybe it’s just me, but he doesn’t convey the appearance of having put his heart and soul into a team that just lost badly – and you just about can’t wipe the smile off his face at the moment.
I don’t know exactly what he did but, whatever it was, it worked.
I wrote at length about how Labor’s socialist left has been targeting Shorten.
Rumours of a possible leadership challenge by Albanese – when Shorten couldn’t have done better – further confirms this. While Albanese has publicly denied this, you’ll have to forgive me for not buying it.
There’s just one problem. Instead of making a small defeat a larger one for Shorten (and laying the groundwork for a post-election leadership challenge), the CFA issue inspired by Labor’s socialist left made a small defeat out of what would have been a small victory. Whoops!
Suffice to say, this one isn’t over. Shorten and Labor’s right will not take this lying down and things are about to get very nasty within Labor.
Anyone who thinks that Labor doesn’t have its own serious internal turmoil to deal with hasn’t been paying attention.
I have voted Liberal 1-1 my whole life – purely on the basis that it was the least odious of two alternatives on offer. This time around, I found 5 small government and conservative minor parties to put ahead of the Liberals in the Senate. My vote has never counted more.
I didn’t agree with everything these minor parties stood for – far from it. However, it was the only practical thing I could do to ensure that the Liberal party is properly held in check.
If I (and well over one and a half million others) did not do this, then the trend of Labor shifting towards the radical left and the Liberals shifting towards the centre left would have continued unabated. The 2016 federal election is hopefully the first step of arresting this trend and getting some common sense back into parliament. We’ll have to wait and see.
The 2016 federal election is a fantastic example of the people getting it right.
Turnbull and Shorten are both cretins who are completely bereft of sensible policy. Neither deserved any mandate to lead the country on their agenda (whatever that was in Turnbull’s case) – a point made abundantly clear by the following statistic shared by Alan Moran on Quadrant:
There has been a major shift in voting across Australia. Of the Senate votes registered on Saturday, the left and right minor parties obtained 35% of first preferences. In 2013, minor parties attained only 21%.
It is important to note at this point that, as poor as Turnbull and the Liberals were, Labor was hardly better. Even after a swing of over 3%, Labor’s primary vote only managed to increase from 33.4% in 2013 (its worst ever), to around 35% (second worst ever).
Australia has made it clear that it would rather have three years of parliamentary dysfunction and atrophy than the slop that was on offer. Both parties need to go back to the drawing board and try again.
We should all be very excited to be living in this, the most dysfunctional of times.