Given that I am now in Queensland it might be worth looking at what has been happening here lately. It has gone through some rough times lately, for example with destructive flooding. But on Saturday night a devastating tsunami swept over the Labor Party.
In what was amongst the worst electoral floggings in Australian political history, Labor was all but wiped off the political landscape. Even very early on in the evening this joke – or versions of it – was making the rounds:
Q. What is the difference between the Queensland Labor Party and a Tarago?
A. On Sunday there will still be at least 8 seats left in the Tarago.
And that about nails it. Numbers are not fully finalised yet, but out of the 89-seat parliament, Labor lost around 43 seats and may have only 7 or so at the end of the day. The Coalition may have around 78. Two independents and two Katter’s Australian Party members make up the remainder.
Talk about an utter and absolute train wreck. This is not only devastating news for Queensland Labor, which needs ten seats just to retain official party status, but it is horrific news for Federal Labor, even if they want to pretend that this loss was just about “state issues” and would not affect them.
Julia is overseas at the moment, but she has got to be having some very sleepless nights about now. As one federal Labor MP put it: “There’s no doubt we are in a lot of trouble.” Labor heavyweight Graham Richardson put it this way:
“I think people just wanted to get rid of Anna Bligh but I think they want to get rid of Julia Gillard as violently as possible.” He said Labor people had to stop “kidding themselves” that Labor could continue on its same old path and hope to retain office: “They have to stop repeating these mantras that everything will be OK. It won’t. They’ve got Buckley’s.”
Anna Bligh, who did manage to retain her seat, nonetheless resigned the very next day, admitting her culpability in this mega-disaster for Labor. She even acknowledged that Labor “simply can’t walk away from the fact that we’ve seen results similar to this in other states of Australia. It’s tough times for Labor.”
Quite so: Liberal victories in Victoria, NSW and WA have already transpired, and they seem to be on a roll. It is obvious that if a Federal election were to be held this week, Julia and Co would fare little better than her Queensland counterparts.
Federal Opposition Leader Tony Abbott rightly said that Labor’s brand was “toxic” right across the nation: “Sure, it’s more toxic in some places than in others, but . . . the only way for the Labor Party to recover is to have a good, long, hard look at itself, to rediscover what it believes in, what it stands for, who it represents and also to regain a bit of political integrity.
“One way or another, it is a disaster for the Labor Party because it does indicate that governments which are all about spin, which don’t deliver for the Australian people, they lose elections and they don’t just lose them narrowly, they lose them in a landslide.”
There were some other very interesting bits of news emerging from this election. The Greens got no seats whatsoever, but neither did Family First. However on a number of occasions both FF and Katter’s party did better than the Greens in terms of overall votes.
Also quite noteworthy is that at least nine Emily’s Listers went down in flames on Saturday night. Emily’s List is the radical feminist, pro-abortion Labor women’s group. So nine pro-death female Labor MPs are no longer on the scene to cause further damage.
Of course how Campbell Newman and the new LNP team will do in place of Bligh and Labor remains to be seen. Small ‘l’ liberal leaders in Victoria and NSW for example have been somewhat disappointing thus far. Some good things have occurred, but much more needs to be done.
For example in Victoria some of the most horrific legacies of the former Labor government such as its Religious Vilification bill and the 2008 abortion bill have not been touched by Ted Baillieu. While many good Coalition MPs do want to act on these and other bills, the leadership is not so keen, and is dragging its feet.
Similarly in NSW one of the first things Barry O’Farrell did when elected was to proudly announce that he would keep the taxpayer funding of the Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras going. Someone really needs to inform these Liberal leaders that when the electorate voted Labor out and put the Libs and Nats in, they expected real changes, not just the same old baloney.
So we will see how the new regime does. For example, Newman is personally in favour of same-sex marriage, but said he would abide by his party’s decision to knock back the civil union legislation which Labor brought in. Hopefully genuine change for the better will take place. We shall see.
So it has been quite a day or two in politics. Folks are absolutely fed up with Labor – in Queensland at least. And I suspect that is also true nation-wide. The Australian people deserve – and should get – a federal election now. Time to end the charade Julia: the handwriting is on the wall.