The results are now in for the Western Australian State Election and it looks, for a change, that the polls were spot on. Labor had consistently been far ahead with the last poll being 54%-46% in Labor’s favour. The only path to a Coalition victory was to hold its seats in Perth which were on a margin of over 10%. Early results on election night indicated the Labor had achieved the swing required in those key seats and were heading towards a comfortable win, later in the night it was clear the Labor had won in a landslide and the Liberal Party (not the National Party) was experiencing a bloodbath.
Current projections show that Labor will have at least 40 out of the 59 seats in the Western Australian Legislative Assembly. Many Liberal ministers have lost their seats and several more are fighting for their political survival. The recriminations in the Liberal Party have already begun with the preference deal with One Nation being blamed for turning voters off and providing a media distraction. Others are saying that Colin Barnett should have been rolled back in the September 2016 leadership spill.
Bill Shorten was out yesterday in Western Australia claiming that large victory of Labor would have federal implications. But it is clear just looking at the issues that were of concern to voters and also the reaction of federal Coalition MPs that the performance of the Turnbull government and other federal issues did not come into play. The Turnbull government can rightly be criticised for a lot of things but this result in Western Australia was not one of them.
The issues of the campaign were the economy, unemployment, the budget and law and order. All of these areas had deteriorated over the previous term of government under Colin Barnett and although the mining downturn is an event that was out of the government’s control they were blamed by voters for its consequences.
A concerning factor in voters’ decision to vote out the Barnett government was the ‘it’s time’ factor, that the Coalition had been in power for eight and half years and it was time to give the other mob a go. In our election preview and final thoughts, we warned voters against this line of reasoning. You may think that the current government have done an average job and but Labor, as history has shown turns out to be much worse.
Mark McGowan did run a very effective campaign portraying himself as a safe pair of hands and stuck to the key campaign issues. But given Labor’s history we are rightly suspicious that McGowan once sworn in as Premier will drag the state in a far-left direction. McGowan stated during the campaign he supported Safe Schools and euthanasia. Victorians are now living with the consequences of throwing out a mediocre Coalition government but replacing it with a Daniel Andrews socialist Labor government. To Western Australian voters don’t say we didn’t warn you.
While this is a significant defeat for the Liberal Party and the recriminations will be damaging, but if subsequent elections are anything to go by there is no reason why they cannot bounce back in 2021. No economically literate person believes that Labor has discipline to bring the budget back to surplus without raising taxes and if they would really have guts, to cut any government services. Given that, it is more than likely the Liberals will be running against another Labor mess in 2021.
The makeup of the new Western Australian upper house, the Legislative Council, looks to be particularly interesting. As it stands the Greens look like gaining a seat, the Shooters, Fishers and Farmers Party have retained their two upper house seats, One Nation looks like it’s only picking up two seats, which is satisfactory but well short of their expectation, and the Liberal Democrats look like they’re obtaining their first ever state parliament representation. The Labor-Green voting bloc will only be 17 out of 36 votes which means they will need another conservative party to support their legislation. That should stop any radical left legislation passing the parliament as has happened in Victoria.
The media have been glowingly reporting on the fact that One Nation did not perform as well as expected. They are gleefully predicting this is the beginning of the end for them and a sign that Australians are rejecting Trump style new right politics. One state election result, where the left-wing party campaigned conservatively, does not show that. Plus, one would hardly call the Liberal and National Parties of Western Australia conservative parties where all the senior ministers are moderates and the National Party over there seems to be closer to the Greens than the Liberals.
This underwhelming result for One Nation shows the mainstream media, who are hellbent on destroying them, still have a significant influence over voters. The past week they aimed to paint the image that One Nation’s campaign was in meltdown and the result shows that their campaign against them was moderately successful. One Nation has still only been in its current incarnation for less than a year, they will reflect on the shortcomings of this campaign and continue build their party infrastructure and harness the large public goodwill towards them and Pauline Hanson.
The Shooters, Fishers and Farmers Party continue to cement their status as major minor party political force with the likely re-election of their two Western Australian MPs. They remain presented in three state Parliaments with seven MPs in total including their first lower house MP elected last year. It is clear they have carved out a high enough segment of the voters to have sustained success in Australian politics.
The Liberal Democrats look like they will obtain their first MP in a state parliament. While they successfully had their federal Senator David Leyonhjelm re-elected last year he had been their only voice. With now a second representative it will certainly bolster the future prospects for the party to have a long-term presence in Australian politics and achieve more name recognition and media coverage.
Many right-wing commentators have been hopeful that the decline of the Greens was on the cards but they continue to perform modestly in elections. They increased their representation by one in this election. Although they have the radical communist Left Renewal faction in New South Wales they have the party infrastructure in place nearly on par with the majors.
If this election does have any federal implications, it is that the current polls must be taken seriously. The election of a Labor government federally would mean that things will get worse in Australia before they get better. Although we are heading the wrong direction with the current government, once again the alternative is worse.
To counter the current trend towards left wing parties in Australia the right needs to do several things. Make sure that the issues of immigration, political correctness and cultural Marxism continue to be in the public discourse. The influence of the mainstream media needs to be countered by alternative voices such as The Unshackled and our friends.
Those on the right should wear their values with pride and not try and placate the left or apologies when they are criticised. Stand your ground, that’s what voters admire. The left’s success is partly because they stand for something, so does the right, they just need to be unafraid and be confident that the people deep down are on your side.