Odds against major parties being able to deliver a full term

first_img Facebook Twitter: @NeosKosmos Instagram Australia’s first hung parliament in 70 years indicates an interesting social trend, said Arthur Sinodinos, former Chief of Staff to ex Prime Minister John Howard. “I think what’s happening is people mobilise around certain ideas or issues rather than being focused on a party movement of one sort or another,” said the current Regional General Manager of Business and Private Bank at National Australia Bank (NAB). “John Howard used to talk about the fact that you don’t have as many rusted on supporters as you once did, the two main party blocks, and the sort of ideologies that held people together in the Cold War for example, the old left versus right or traditional class distinction have largely disappeared as the ideology of mass movements.” Sinodinos said the Labor Party needed more time under Julia Gillard to get a few issues fixed, establish Gillard’s authority as a PM, and resolve the Kevin Rudd issue before calling an election. “What Labor did was basically execute Rudd and thought he would sit quietly on the sidelines. They needed to deal with that issue by either persuading him to get out completely or offer him something at the time to keep him in the tent; what they did was sort of rubbish his legacy as it were and expect him to keep quiet and of course he couldn’t keep quiet, and his supporters couldn’t keep quiet,” Sinodinos said.Labor’s election campaign rushed through issues, which Sinodinos attributes to their downfall. “They rushed their compromise on the mining tax and it was a bad look to only be dealing with the three big companies rather than all those small companies, and the small companies re-ignited their advertising campaign, which didn’t help Labor particularly in the West or parts of Queensland.” With more time Labor could have better dealt with mining tax proposals, asylum seekers and climate change, Sinodinos said. “The Labor Party just needed more time, they just assumed Julia would have a honeymoon, Abbott is unelectable, all we need to do is change leaders, rush to the election and it’ll all be okay. They didn’t do the work,” Sinodinos said. Tony Abbott did a very good job during a short period of time to get the Coalition to this point, Sinodinos said. “Whatever the result, Tony Abbott has emerged as a big Liberal hero because he’s brought them back from the brink of destruction late last year to an extremely credible result which either way leaves him in the box seat,” he said. Sinodinos said the Liberal Party took the protest vote as far as they could in the recent election campaign. “I think the strength was that they galvanised the protest vote around the country very effectively around issues to do with tax, boats or climate change,” he said. Now that it’s down to negotiations with the three independents and other members, Sinodinos said he believes the major issue will be whether each of the majority parties can satisfy the seven demands that the independents have made. “My own view is the independents should not make each of those seven demands non negotiable, there’s got to be some capacity to mix and match,” he said. Odds are against either of the major parties being able to deliver a full term in a minority government, Sinodinos said. “Labor are very desperate to stay in government for a whole variety of reasons, particularly because if they went into opposition their problem is all the underlying tensions would come to the surface around the conduct of the campaign and the assassination of Rudd,” he said. “In a funny sense an Abbott minority government might be more stable than a Labor minority government in some ways,” Sinodinos said, adding that divisions would still exist within a Gillard minority government, but would not be as bad as if the Labor Party went into opposition. The Greens will have their main leverage in the Senate, Sinodinos said. “Whichever government is elected in the lower house, or prevails in the lower house, they will have to work with the Greens because the Greens will have the balance of power,” he said. “If the other majority party, say it’s Labor in the Senate, cooperates with the Liberal party in the Senate then the Greens have no power but you’re probably facing a situation where the opposition party in the Senate will have very little incentive to cooperate with the government of the day,” he added.In terms of appealing to ethnic communities Sinodinis said neither party seemed to use the word multiculturalism in the whole campaign. Identifying this as a real issue, Sinodinos said there didn’t seem to be a separate appeal to ethnic communities in their own right. Strong debates around urban congestion during the election campaign confused migration issues with infrastructure and planning issues, Sinodinos said. “We should separate the issues out, I’m a supporter of a big immigration intake because it’s good for the country in the long run in creating a stronger Australia, but we do have infrastructure and planning issues we have to deal with and largely these have been a failure at the state level,” he said. “State governments have a capacity to plan and in many ways they’ve let everybody down by how they plan or don’t plan to cater for increased immigration.”Sinodinos has enjoyed being an observer in this election. “It’s been good because I can dip in and out. Believe me I haven’t had withdrawal symptoms, I used to hate being on the road for five weeks, I’d cross off every day as I got to the end of it. It was always a very rollercoaster like process because the polls could go up and down and your mood would fluctuate depending on the polls. It’s good to dip and out of it and be an armchair general,” he said.last_img read more

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