Is this (raw) democratic justice?

In December 1989, the Queensland National Party government lost power after 32 years in power. As David Barnett recounts in his biography of John Howard (John Howard, Prime Minister), after hearing this result, Howard remarked, “There is an element of democratic justice in the result.”

Howard made the comment not because he was happy with the outcome, but in view of the role played by Queensland nationals in the 1987 ‘Joh-for-Canberra’ campaign, which was an attempt to catapult the prime minister of the time, Sir Joh Bjelke-Petersen. in the Lodge. This caused a historic split within the Coalition and no doubt played a part in Howard’s defeat to Bob Hawke in the election that year.

Although the outcome of last weekend’s federal election is disastrous for this country, it offers an element of democratic justice as well as an opportunity for renewal, if not honest revolution.

Democratic justice happened not just in the case of Kristina Kenneally being dramatically sacked by the people of Fowler on the island of Scotland, but more so in the case of the ‘wet’ Liberals in wealthy seats that the party would normally consider safe. Losing dramatically to so-called “climate independents” who are backed by billionaire Simon Holmes at Court, among others, hurts. Those losses could number up to seven seats and include incumbent Treasurer and Deputy Liberal Party Leader Josh Frydenburg. He lost the Blue Ribbon seat of Kooyong (the former seat of Sir Robert Menzies) to one of those Teal “independents”, Monique Ryan. Therefore, the tactic of trying to appease those calling for climate action by signing net zero emissions by 2050 has clearly failed.

Instead of fighting the election on their traditional strengths — opposition to “drastic climate action,” cuts in government spending and basic freedoms — liberals conceded those arguments to their opponents in the name of political expediency. It became difficult to know exactly what the Liberals believed in.

As I wrote in my post last month:

“When the Liberal Party approaches the ALP, it dismays its best supporters without winning new ones. The phenomenon of the absence of political choice is reflected in the growing support for small parties. Many cannot in good conscience vote for the “least unimpressive” alternative, let alone dripping candidates like Dave Sharma who are apparently ashamed to display the name of the party they represent.

And that’s how it happened. The Liberals lost this election because they forgot what it means to be a Liberal. As the editor of this prestigious publication put it, the Liberals represented nothing but “political expediency” and paid the price for it.

Scott Morrison, playing a bad game of tactics because he has no convictions, led the Coalition to its lowest primary vote in modern history. As Michael Kroger admitted on Sky News Australia election coverage, the Liberals had no principles to uphold or uphold. Just pushing ‘good management’ fails to excite people, especially when Morrison’s management hasn’t exactly been that good, National Cabinet being an example.

However, this electoral defeat offers an opportunity for renewal, even revolution.

As many have argued, the Liberal Party base does not live in leafy, affluent beachside areas, but in the outer suburbs of major cities and regions. In other words, the “forgotten people” who, according to Menzies, were “the backbone of the nation”.

“Wage earners, traders, skilled artisans, tradesmen and women, farmers, etc. They are, in a political and economic sense, the middle class,” Menzies said.

By getting rid of those ‘moderates’ who are desperately trying (and failing) to represent the wealthy and their luxury concerns, liberals can focus on rebuilding the party with real conservatives who care about the issues that matter to the people. forgotten”: the ever-increasing cost of living, the burden of bureaucracy on small businesses, the importance of families in creating a stable society, and the far-left activism in schools that leads to poor school results.

Under John Howard and Tony Abbott, liberals had policies to unite the base around shared values ​​of social conservatives and economic sects: lower taxes, smaller government, reward for individual effort, defense of the family, and l importance of: national sovereignty, the rule of law and, above all, individual liberty.

The Liberal Party must rediscover these principles and find people willing to defend them – like Howard and Abbott – with conviction. Hopefully this loss will “shock” him to rediscover his conservative roots and never forget the forgotten people again.

In that sense, this might just be the election the Liberals were meant to lose.

The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Curtin University.

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Elna M. Lemons