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Monday, May 23, 2022

Editorial – There is no act of treachery or meanness of which a political party is not capable; for in politics there is no honour.

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 Quote - Benjamin Disraeli

Disraeli’s words ring true to many as the electorate in Victoria moves to within one day of voting to see who forms the next government in Victoria.

There are many things that could be said about the campaign since Daniel Andrews visited the state Governor and asked for the election to be held. One thing that is clear to us is, that this has been pretty much a lack lustre event.

It has almost become an event based around who makes the least number of gaffs rather than presenting and explaining who has the most appropriate coherent policies and the means to take the state through the next four years.

Liberal leader Mathew Guy has not only had to deal with his own demons but also his federal counterparts, who are on the nose.

Such demons include but are certainly not limited to, his lobster lunch with a notorious crime figure; his bizarre attempt to bring religion back into schools, his unwavering support for coal over renewable energy and having candidates that deflected any positive message he might have- like Meralyn Klein the disendorsed a Liberal party candidate who appeared in a video that called for a ban on Muslim immigration.

His Federal Liberal counterparts haven’t done him any favours making off-the-cuff comments about Victoria. In particular there was PM Scott Morrison, whose absence has been noteworthy except for a blatant political opportunist appearance at Pellegrini’s after the death of Sisto Malispina.

In many ways, the Liberal election campaign has largely been build around  a “law and Order” campaign that has had some elements that have appealed to the community but significantly has been built around blaming the Labor government for the African gang issues, the radical Islamists, and anything that smells of law and order and that might pop up on any given day.

Labor leader Daniel Andrews has had his share of disasters and self developed disasters. Fortunately for him the “red shits” issue seems to have been dropped like a hot potato despite a lack of explanation over just who knew about what and allowed what. Mind you Daniel Andrews won’t mind that issue being pushed into the background.

Logging and his governments support for it will see it lose votes in marginal seats and he seems to have not picked up on the fact that despite his claims about jobs, there is a move to reduce logging and preserve the environment. Andrews is as exposed on this issue as Guy is over his support for coal.

The Labor government’s inability to deal with the rise in homelessness remains one issue that has not received a lot of attention but in itself is an indictment of a party that proclaims itself as a party with a “social conscience”. 

In fact part of Labor’s problem is that there seems to be no coherent message regarding what it’s campaign is about yet it does present some well constructed policies in the areas of health and transport and, despite some big gaffs has got on with the job.

On a Federal level, Federal Labor is simply not on the nose like the Coalition and that has benefited Andrews.

The Greens really have a problem. Are they able to move out of the “Protest Party” image and into being seem as a viable “Major Party”?  To our way of thinking the answer is no! Leader Samantha Ratnam appears to be a “nice” person. What do they say about “nice” people in politics?

She has an image problem – just what does she stand for?  She also seems to be seriously hamstrung by a badly designed candidate selection process with a number of her candidates being forced to stand down over the election period.

All parties have made errors in candidate selection, but the Greens needed to present themselves as a fresh alternate party, that is socially responsible, has a good all-round portfolio of policies and, exceptional candidates.

It seems to us to be unable to sell any of these satisfactorily.

It may be that this election sees the rise and rise of more independent / small party candidates, all with individual barrows to push and possibly wielding far more power than is desirable. Such a candidate is short-term Federal Senator, Ricky Muir who has switched to another minor party, the Shooters, Fishers and Farmers and who is likely to affect the result in his Gippsland electorate.

If there is one thing that is clear, this is unlikely to be a runaway win for any party and that seems to be where Australian politics is at.  We have a desperately unhappy electorate – somewhat polarised, that just wants someone with a clear vision, who can keep employment up, keep them safe, keep utility bills down, be environmentally aware and prepared to act to protect it. The electorate wants transportation dealt with, and, it wants a party with policies take care of those in the community that are becoming more disenfranchised every day, both by providing quality healthcare and a roof over their heads.

After careful consideration, we believe that the Coalition have not done enough in policy or practice to warrant forming government, and that while Labor have made mistakes, we believe overall they deserve another 4 year term.

If Labor is returned they need to deliver particularly on social policies, health, transport and deal with the issue of violence on the streets or we will find ourselves looking elsewhere for a government in 2022!

We hope that all parties take stock of the mess they have created and to start to consider how to find at least some honour in politics!