“L-NP support increased to 46.5% (up 2.5%), however still clearly behind the ALP 53.5% (down 2.5%) on a two-party preferred basis. If a Federal Election were held now, the ALP would win according to this week’s Morgan Poll on voting intention conducted over the last two weekends, February 28/March 1 & 7/8, 2015, with an Australia-wide cross-section of 3,182 Australian electors aged 18+.” So said Roy Morgan Research in an Article in March 2015. Fairfax Ipsos poll showed only 28 per cent approve of Abbott’s performance, and he has already encountered his first Spill motion from his Back bench. The term “One Term Tony” is becoming a good possibility, even if the LNP go on to win the next election, unless “Good Government” is around the next corner.
Polls are a curious thing as depending on who is running them the results vary widely. The latest Essentials poll found that 48% of Coalition voters believe Abbott should stay on as leader until the next election, whereas when considering all voters, only 28% held that opinion.
While most polls show Labor leading around 54% to 55% against 45% to 46% for Liberal, that is still a significant following for the LNP.
And the 28% preferring Abbott as PM has been holding stable for some time now, so I don’t think that is about to shift even if they are reading this article. Cognitive dissonance should ensure no change of mind is likely to occur.
I understand the top 1% supporting coalition government objectives (i.e. Murdoch, Rinehart, Triguboff, Lowy, Forest, Packers, Pratt, Lew & other executives, etc.). They are after all a party of primary support for the wealthy. I can comprehend the top 10% on the economic scale supporting the government financially (i.e. Property & Land Developers, Construction groups, Software & telecommunications, Media, Betting, Agriculture, Food, Banks, Mining & Oil companies, large Retailers and even large right-wing churches, etc). That is assuming they have no social conscience. As this is a government that pays back its supporters by supporting their financial interests. Look at the scandals with ICAC over Developers. So this support for Abbott reaching in the top 10% financially enriched of the population, holds some degree of objectivity from a self-interested perspective. There are people associated with or in this group who, rightly or wrongly, believe there is a trickle-down effect, or have aspirations of becoming part of that 1% demographic, whose financial interests would be served, were they to reach that point. Again, self-interested parties predominately. Understandably perhaps, they believe in Tony Abbott’s Australia.
There is a portion of people either from the families as mentioned earlier or belonging to a conservative ideological perspective, who follow in their family’s footsteps and are largely influenced – for reasons little else then – this is the way they have always voted. There is no particular strength of intellectual inquiry involved in that decision. They are more probably disengaged with politics entirely, and some take pride in doing so. Of course, this latter type of group belongs to both sides of the political divide. And speaking of the political divide, there are they that swung their vote to the Liberals because of the dysfunction and corruption within the Labour Party. (Given the size of the swing against the Liberals in the last few State Elections, it is probably safe to assume the vast majority of these have regretted their choice.) It ‘s hard to guess what percentage these disengaged voters are represented by, that still support Liberals but most polls show ambivalent and undecided voters as small single digit figures.
It is hard to imagine what other elements of the population that the liberal party serves. Their record after one year of the “Adults” being in charge, is dismal. It is, in fact, severely underperforming. Economically, consumer and business confidence has slumped as Westpac continues to advise. The decline in the Aussie Dollar (the lowest since 2010) and the “weak pace of growth momentum” and “sharp declines in the term of trade” still concern our Bankers such as Westpac as of March 2015.
It is no wonder they describe “labour market expectations are still very weak” with unemployment is at the highest level in a decade fluctuating between 6.1 and 6.4%. The unemployed outnumber the available jobs in the market at 5 to 1, and that gap has been increasing.
Debt, cuts and contributions
The government debt has doubled – net debt in February was $255 billion up to $76.9 billion in just 15 months — with no global financial crisis (GFC) and no productive infrastructure to show for it. Total net worth – all assets minus all liabilities in the federal government general sector has plummeted. After rising almost $50 billion under Labor’s last year to reach -$210.5 billion it has now fallen to -$301.5 billion. That is a deterioration of $91 billion in only 15 months. Should we return to the past to discuss the false budget emergency (for a country that had the third lowest gross debt to GDP ratio of any country in the OECD)? The Hockey budget wanted cuts suffered by everything from the ABC & SBS (despite promises to the contrary) thru CSIRO and science funding (which contribute 145 billion to our economy each year), our aged pensioners and all the way down to our children’s education, medication, disability and legal protection. Of course, the continued UNCUT subsidisation of mining & fossil fuels, wealthy superannuation packages, negative gearing, religious organisations (Catholics) to the tune of over 80 billion could have killed off the “emergency deficit”.
In terms of Income, the removal of major revenue streams (mining & carbon taxes – both around 6.5 billion each) including the failure/decision not to proceed (Pg 117 of MYEFO Dec 2014) to collect appropriate taxes from 30% of the countries largest companies is flawed. In the latter case some estimates by the “Tax Justice Network” suggest the tax avoided is around 8.4 billion a year. I have heard larger views but have no decent evidential claim on that. Anyone??
Why still so many?
So the quandary one has to ask oneself is, why is there close to 28% of the population (only 10% of which might make any sense if I take on board a purely selfish agenda) feel Abbott’s Government serves Australia. What is the need for 18% to vote against their own best interests?
The future support for the Liberals
What is the intellectual process – if there is any – that occurs for these people that encourage them to continue in their current voting pattern, given the manner in which the political process has mismanaged the social & financial economy this year. Is it merely a matter of ignorance about the state of the nation or misdirection by right wing oligopolies that control the media? (i.e. Murdock) Surely they can’t all be fascists, OR racist Reclaim Australian adherents OR angry unemployed bogans raging against the perception that jobs are being taken by foreign nationalities (which has some degree of truth but only if you admit Abbott’s increase in 457 visas disadvantages the opportunities of the Australian unemployed) OR the pretentious bourgeoisie of prosperity doctrine bound right-wing church demographics that rage against the sins of left-wing thinkers who support gays, indigenous people, refugees, disabled folk and the rights of women? Is this from which the remaining approaching 18% of Tony Abbott’s support is constructed? Is this a situation resolved by education & rational discussion or are these entrenched values of this group beyond the possibility of rethinking their values? As higher education grows more swiftly beyond the reach of the hoi polloi because of progressive deregulation of the education market, is entrenched ignorance and resilient attitudes of folk who feel the need to “Reclaim Australia” the future support of the Liberal Party?
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