Australia's new Prime Minister Anthony Albanese (C) is set to fly to Tokyo for a meeting of the Quad


Australia’s new Prime Minister Anthony Albanese (C) is set to fly to Tokyo for a meeting of the Quad – Copyright AFP SAEED KHAN

Conservatives really can’t take a punch. Nor do they seem to have much of a relationship with reality. The electoral loss by the conservative Liberal 10-year government has provoked a media hissy fit.

The hissy fit, In the all-too-expected form of Sky News, aka the Murdoch Press Museum of Ancient Political Clichés, however, apparently couldn’t even read the result correctly. Droughts, bushfires, floods, pandemics, wars, poverty, and inflation predictably weren’t even on the radar for the “emotional” right-wing plodders. Actual electoral results also obviously weren’t seen as indicative of anything.

The people, as usual, had nothing to do with it at all according to the Right. No effort seems to be going into finding out how the Liberals misread the electorate so badly. None of the many big issues were exactly secrets. As The Guardian says, this response was as usual all about the third-rate baby formula of fighting “ the Left”.  

How they’re going to do that is debatable. The House of Representatives is solidly Labor and independents. The Senate is less clear, but it’s now much more progressive, and the House is unlikely to be budged. Propaganda won’t do it, and nor will repeating this election’s mistakes.

The Right, according to it, is never out of touch. The Right can’t see itself as wrong on any subject. There are no issues, no problems, and nothing to worry about. The world simply needs to go backward, perhaps to the trees. The Right can solve everything by returning to some odd secure womb or at least early childhood.

Like the endlessly dull, stupid, drum-banging unforgivable Donald Trump, everything is about Them as the threat. This is the epitome of modern conservatism, and it’s not working. Everything and anything must be a socialist plot, just pick a noun and babble on regardless. Think of it as something like the fairy tale, The Irrelevant Old Bores Who Cried Wolf.

None of which made the slightest impact on Australian voters. The Liberals did drop the ball, and too often, during some very tough times. This is the payback. The cost of living is beyond absurd. Wages are basically going backward. Affordability is a top-line issue, and that’s what the election result meant.

Australia is a very middle-class country, sometimes oppressively so. It’s about as left-wing as a Hamptons party. There is no “left” in Australia. Progressives, yes; but they’re very far from card-carrying Communists. That said – There is a very clear limit to this middle-class smugness. Apathy stops when bills need paying.

People are definitely hurting. People with jobs are using Food Banks to eat. This is a very. very long way down from the expected standard of living in Australia.  Even allowing for the deadwood of seemingly totally human aspiration-free conservatives, Australia is sub-par to an intolerable level by its own standards.

Prosperity is the expected norm in Australia. The good times were really good. That’s what’s expected, and it’s not happening. We screwed it up, badly, with privatization. We’re now paying for the privatized gouging of publicly-owned essential services our grandparents’ taxes paid for. The buzzard of endlessly increasing prices not only hits the public. It has also seriously deprived the government of many valuable non-tax cash cows.

It says a lot about Australia that it took decades to really feel the bite from the conservative handouts of public assets. Boomers did OK. (By the way, tedious OK Boomer hacks, all that stuff was paid for, with far lower wages than now. Get that straight for a change.) Gen X did reasonably well. Gen y – meh. The Millennials and Gen Z are in serious trouble. Everything is far too expensive for them.

To give you an idea of how far downhill things have gone. In 1980-ish, you could have bought about 8 reasonably good houses with a million bucks. Now, you’d be lucky to buy half a house in unfashionable South West Sydney.

Wages haven’t gone up anything like that amount. If you sell and buy again, you buy into a super-heated property market. This is on top of rising prices for everything else. Doing nothing and ignoring the issue was not an option, and that’s what the conservatives did, for a decade.

A changing electoral landscape

The net result was a “Greenwave” of Greens candidates getting elected or doing a lot better than usual. Local independents did better than ever. The two-party system favored Labor this time, largely as the default Off switch against go-nowhere government positions on too many issues.

As in the UK and America, the conservatives are now way off target on too many core issues. This makes no sense to younger voters, and older voters are more than tired of it. The conservatives might as well be talking about astrology.

The usual conservative formula applies – No mentions of critical issues like the environment, education, housing, wages, future goals, etc., and above all, no planning for the future.

This used baby formula is getting very old indeed. They are literally talking themselves out of any possible relevance to the real world. Conservatism is now a synonym for out of touch.

That’s the main reason for the electoral result. Times change; conservatives don’t. The expiry date is clear enough, surely. Maybe Murdoch and his shabby circus of QAnon crazies and wannabes are misreading the market? Or maybe reality would like to get a word in edgewise?

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