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The LNP And ALP Must Form A Coalition Of A Different Kind

We haven't seen good government for some 10-12 years.

05/07/2016 10:04 AM AEST | Updated 15/07/2016 12:56 PM AEST
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"The LNP and the ALP have a unique opportunity to turn this recent electoral disaster to a significant national advantage."

Malcolm has been repeating, almost ad nauseam, that "It is an exciting time to be an Australian". The election outcome suggests that a lot of people disagree with him.

It might be "exciting" for Malcolm to be "an Australian Prime Minister", he was obviously enjoying himself, but many are really struggling just to make ends meet, to secure their job, to house their families, to educate their kids, to have access to health services as required.

Malcolm's focus on "new industries" and "technology" has also worried many people, especially those employed in the "old industries", concerned about their job and financial security.

In short, the prospect of another Turnbull Government actually, and quite ironically, "scared" many people, over and above the disappointment that he had failed to match their initial expectations on his ascendency to the leadership over Abbott -– specifically, to deliver on his socially progressive views on climate and marriage equality, on his commitments to implement some "big" policy ideas such as tax reform, and to move beyond "slogans" to a more mature and detailed policy debate.

This was also easily compounded by the Shorten's "Mediscare" campaign, which struck at the heart of one of the electorate's principle concerns.

So, not surprisingly, to then focus his campaign on a slogan "Jobs and Growth", without any detail as to how, which industries, which jobs and so on, except for a promised tax cut over the next 10 years, with the benefit concentrated on the top end of town, while also promising big cuts to schools and hospitals, the electorate soon disengaged with him and many of his team.

It was also most difficult to understand why, having called the double dissolution election on union power, influence and excesses, with Shorten a mere, tainted, puppet of the union movement, and totally beholden to it, that he didn't sustain an attack on this issue throughout the campaign.

Indeed, it was rarely even mentioned again. Such an attack –- and it wouldn't have been a scare campaign given the mountain of evidence from the Royal Commission and beyond -- would have gone to the very heart of Shorten's integrity and competency, and reduced his capacity and credibility to run an effective Mediscare campaign.

Behind all this was the fact that both major parties were on the nose, as evidenced by their primary votes having sank again to near all time lows. This has resulted in minor parties and independents effectively holding the balance of power in both Houses.

In large measure, the electorate is basically sick and tired of the focus of the major parties on "winning" the increasingly short-term, opportunistic, mostly negative, politics, while key issues and challenges are left to drift, and their basic, cost and standard of living concerns are ignored. We haven't seen "good government" for some 10-12 years.

We now have the prospect of what will be very messy, and probably ephemeral, "deals" with the minor parties and independents having to be done for any semblance of government to proceed.

Might I suggest that, as an effective alternative, Turnbull and Shorten actually sit down together and do a deal on the major issues, in the national interest.

Some issues are of such significant longer-term importance, indeed that will far outlast any of our politicians, that they should be elevated above short-term politics, and for which there should be bi-partisan support. For example, budget repair, climate change, and even federation and tax reform, to mention but three.

The major parties already mostly agree on national security, defence and foreign policies. I would suggest the three issues exampled above are of even more significance, and even more worthy of bipartisanship.

It should be relatively easy to agree to establish some sort of joint Task Force, or Working Group, to provide a framework to facilitate co-ordination, to provide support on the detail, and to tap the views of the community, and the minor parties and independents.

The LNP and the ALP have a unique opportunity to turn this recent electoral disaster to a significant national advantage. It is a unique opportunity for them to start to re-establish some standing and trust with the electorate. It is unique opportunity for them to sideline, to some extent, the influence of some of the extreme views of some of the minor parties and independents

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