Aussie Election Roundup week 3: ‘Sco-Mo’ back in the race

Australia; election 2019; Scott Morrison; Bill Shorten;

The Phony War is over, the Easter/Anzac break is behind us, and the Australian federal election 2019 is on for real. Labor have had a shocking campaign so far, especially with Bill Shorten?s fumbling, dodging performance, which has drawn unfavourable comparisons (not just from me) with the hapless John Hewson in 1993. Scott Morrison?s campaign, while solid, hasn?t really laid any obvious killer blows just yet. Nonetheless, it seems as though Morrison?s steady approach is paying dividends. Quote:

The federal election race is tightening as the Coalition continues to close the gap on Labor, with minor-party preferences now poised to play a critical role in the outcome.

An exclusive Newspoll conducted for The Australian with three weeks to polling day shows the ?Coalition improving its position by a point to now trail Labor 49-51 on a two-party-preferred vote.

It is the best result for the government under Scott Morrison?s leadership, but would still result in defeat and a loss of between six and 10 seats after taking into ?account last year?s electoral boundary changes. End of quote.


The most interesting development is that, federally, Australia seems set to repeat the pattern seen in the recent NSW state election, where voters walked away from the two majors. Of the minor parties, the Greens continue their spiral into irrelevance, while the ABC/Al Jazeera hit-job on One Nation looks to have caused serious damage. The big winner appears to be the biggest spender. Quote:

[Clive Palmer?s United Australia Party] has now supplanted One Nation to emerge as the leading minor party after the Greens on the back of a $50m advertising campaign that will ultimately rival the spend of the major parties.

A month ago, UAP was polling at just 2 per cent. In the latest poll it has secured 5 per cent of the primary vote? End of quote.

But, with his usual flair for self-promotion Palmer, who seems to fancy himself as an antipodean Trump (he wishes), appears to be touting himself as the next prime minister. Quote:

Mr Palmer also claimed today?s Newspoll figures were wrong and that his United Australia Party is on track to claim government.

?We?re not polling 5 per cent?We are polling much higher than that.? End of quote.

Meanwhile, the majors are committing to their traditional strengths. Labor is throwing money at anything and everything, and the Coalition is finally working up the bottle to tackle the previously-untouchable subject of immigration. Quote:

The push by Labor to seize back control over the policy agenda with pre-poll voting opening today came as Mr Morrison ?attended a US-style campaign rally in the multicultural seat of Reid?Mr Morrison attempted to drag immigration back into the ?national debate with a pledge not to lift the number of refugees coming to Australia from 18,750. He promised to take in a greater number of women in need?

?Labor would commit more to childcare subsidies as well as ?directly fund higher wages for childcare workers.

Actually, there was an attempt by Labor?s former hapless childcare minister?to boost the wages of some childcare workers, but it was so badly executed it?s not clear what happened to the money.

There is no reason to think Labor?s extra $4 billion in childcare subsidies over four years will result in a different outcome, given the history of the commonwealth government?s involvement in childcare? End of quote.

Perhaps tellingly, Labor are already squeezing the sour grapes. Quote:

Labor Senate leader Penny Wong has blamed a ?dirty campaign? for a tightening Newspoll result. End of quote.

The Coalition are wheeling out their elder statesman, John Howard, who was mobbed in Sydney. Quote:

John Howard has accused Bill Shorten of fuelling a new class war, saying his tax rises are ?economic madness? and accusing him of fostering ?envy and division?. End of quote.


And no election is complete without the fruitcake factor. Quote:

Labor Northern Territory Senate candidate Wayne Kurnoth is expected to stand aside this morning after it was revealed by The Australian that he shared an anti-Semitic conspiracy theory that claims the world is being run by a secret ?society of Jewish shape-shifting lizards?Bill Shorten described him as ?incredibly stupid? but refused to disendorse him as a Labor ?candidate. End of quote.


Alarming, but hardly surprising. Anti-Semitism, traditionally viewed as the province of the far-right, is too fast becoming conventional wisdom on the left. It?s disgusting that an anti-Semitic candidate had to choose to voluntarily step aside, rather than be expelled by the Labor party. It?s even worse that Shorten couldn?t bring himself to actively disendorse a Jew-hater.