Coalition folly

By October 10, 2017Australian Politics

A Newspoll has just come out showing that, as expected, since the election in July last year, the Coalition has continued its slide in the opinion polls in two-party preferred terms, the coalition sliding from 50.4% at the election to 47% overall. In NSW it has dropped from 49.9% to 48%; Victoria from 48.2% to 47%, Queensland from 54.1% to 46%, South Australia from 47.7% to 45%, and Western Australia from 54.7% to 47%. While the Barnett Government in Western Australia was very much on the nose before the state election in March 2017 at which it was defeated, the Labor Party has maintained a significant lead in that state.

In this Newspoll, the fact that in the five largest capital cities, the Coalition have dropped slightly, from 48.1% to 47%, is relatively unsurprising. However, it is in the non-capital cities where the drop has been dramatic; it has gone from 53.7% at the time of the election down to 46%. This must be very worrying for the Coalition; indeed they must be mortified by this, as these cities have been their heartland.

The reasons for this are probably twofold. Firstly, the National party is seen to be rather incompetent and has been losing support to One Nation. Barnaby Joyce, leader of the parliamentary National Party, has been caught up in the citizenship debacle, and is seen as just another stooge doing what the Liberal Party wants; often to the detriment of the regions. The Liberal Party, and Joyce with it, seem hell-bent on promoting coalmines, coal-fired power stations and fracking for gas production. The latter has been a feature of recent politics that has seen something happen which was almost unthinkable two decades ago: the alliance between environmentalists and farmers. The farmers are starting to realise that the ‘environmentalists’ were on their side all along. The fact that the Coalition still tugs the forelock to the fossil fuel industry is doing them enormous damage. The same thing is happening to various conservative neoliberal parties around the Anglophone world. This is because the denialist honeymoon is coming to an end, as temperatures climb, storms become more regular and more intense, coral is bleached at unprecedented levels, sea ice is shrinking, glaciers are retreating, and the Greenland icecap is melting at an unprecedented rate. You can only stick your head in the sand for so long, and so many of the Coalition do have their denialist heads in the sand.

Given that the Great Barrier Reef employs an enormous number of people directly and indirectly, and is one of the great natural tourist attractions, the fact that the Coalition is spruiking for the fossil fuel industry simply beggars belief, because it is a declining industry, worldwide. The only possible reason they would do this, apart from mental derangement and a longing for the 1950s, would be because of money; because of donations from the fossil fuel industry to the Coalition parties. This is not only criminal in its venality, but in its stupidity.

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