The 47th Parliament has commenced and the new Labor government wants to implement its agenda as soon as possible. After nine years of a Coalition government seemingly unwilling to implement anything meaningful, it’s a shock to the body politic to see new leaders wanting to do things, rather than applying the dark arts of politics to spin, diffuse, negate, and ultimately ignore acting on behalf of the community.
Climate change comes to mind, and the Coalition has decided to play itself out of the action on an important issue, an issue the electorate strongly supported at the 2022 federal election.
The Prime Minister, Anthony Albanese, has implored Parliament to think about their legacy, and reflect on that point in the future when they leave politics: how do they want to be remembered? As members of parliament who sat around, obfuscated and wasted their own time – and the time of their electorate – or implementing programs and policies that were in the benefit of as many people as possible in the community as possible?
The answer seems straightforward, but many in the Coalition want to fight the losing battle from the last election, and happy to waste their time and every body elses. It’s a nihilistic political force that doesn’t know what to do: they were incompetent in government, and now they’re incompetent in opposition.
There were many questions from the media during the 2022 election campaign: who is Anthony Albanese and what does he stand for? We are gradually finding out. This is an ambitious Labor government, but the quality of this government will be based on achievements and actions, not just the words and statements that it releases to the public: the public had three years of a meandering Morrison government; the demands are quite different now.
If the ambitions of this Labor government are becoming clearer – what are the ambitions of the Liberal and National parties?
It appears they haven’t learnt the lessons of the federal election and are looking at the behaviours of the Howard, Abbott and Morrison governments for guidance. But this is a dead end: they need to make a clean break from this era and forge a new path if they wish to achieve political success.
And part of this process has to be disowning the actions of Scott Morrison on election day, when he broke convention – as well as his own unofficial code of not speaking of ‘on water matter’ – by publicising the interception of an asylum seeker boat at 12.50pm, with only five hours before the polls closed.
It didn’t making any difference to the final result – and it was unlikely to make a difference – but Morrison and the Liberal Party decide to trash convention and their own reputations to try and win an election. The party needs change, it needs reform. And until it does, it’s likely to be spending a long time in political obscurity.