An Outsiders Personal Guide to the Australian Election
In an interconnected world the Australian elections should matter to a whole lot more than just Australians. Questions of climate change, China, the world economy, the Woke world and covid are of interest throughout the world – and Australia is a major and key player in all of these. It is often hard to understand what is going on – because what the news we are given is nowadays so often filtered by the prejudices of the those doing the reporting. Take for example this BBC report – https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-australia-61137648?utm_source=pocket_mylist
It clearly reflects the BBC bias. Note how it is critical of Scott Morrison – whilst nothing critical is said of Anthony Albanese – although he has made a number of major gaffes in this campaign. Notice how they major on climate change and the abuse of women, but don’t mention another key issue – what actually is a woman? And the whole woke agenda. Education and the economy are also really important. But perhaps the number one issue for most people is housing. But that doesn’t really interest the BBC, and is not part of their agenda.
Perhaps we just have to accept that we all see things through a filter – and that complete objectivity is impossible? I accept that. However, I would suggest that the Christian perspective is, or should be, a little different. As I seek to outline what is happening – my primary objective is not in supporting one political party or philosophy – but rather in seeking to understand things from a Christian perspective. The other difference is this – politics is not my religion. It is not the be all and end all. And I don’t believe for a minute that whoever is elected will be able to change the world. I doubt they will be able to significantly change Australia.
The other caveat is that I am an outsider. I have read a lot and discussed with a lot of Australians – including journalists and politicians. But I am not allowed to vote – and I have very limited experience of the country. So, with these caveats in mind let me try to explain what is going on.
There are 152 seats in the House of Representatives – which means that the winning party will require 76 of the seats. The current Liberal/National coalition government has 76 seats. (Note the term Liberal in Australia means ‘conservative’). The Labor party has 68 seats: with the other 7 being independents or other parties. Voting in mandatory – which means that 17.2 people will vote. It is a preference vote system – which means that you have to preference everyone on the ballot.
The Potential Prime Ministers:
In reality the next Prime Minister will be either the current one, Scott Morrison, or the leader of the Labor party, Anthony Albanese. One of the things that has genuinely surprised me about Aussie politics is how vicious it can be. I know that politics is a dirty business – but the Aussies take it down to a deeper level. Much of the vitriol in the press and social media is directed towards Scott Morrison. If I had a sympathy vote Morrison would get it! Paul Kelly in the Australian put it well: “Most of the political critique of Scott Morrison is mindlessly vicious: that he does not care about fire and flood victims; that he wants people’s standard of living to fall; that he was uninterested in the plight of a staff member who, unbeknown to him, allegedly was raped in Parliament House; or that he intends to vandalise the planet. This scenario is about as plausible as the antics of some dastardly pantomime villain, yet Labor and the Greens present it as a serious political attack and much of the media amplifies it.”
Morrison has his weaknesses. At times he appears indecisive and like any politician, indeed any human being, he is fallible. He is noted for being a scrapper, and even admitted last week that he was a bit of a ‘bulldozer’. He is a formidable campaigner, and it appears that that is beginning to pay dividends. In the last election he started well behind in the opinion polls, but somehow ended up with a ‘miracle’ win. This time he has started even further behind, and yet as of the last opinion poll, the anticipated result is is now much closer. Last week in Brisbane he gave a speech which was described as his ‘finest campaign performance’. The rabbit he pulled out of the hat was offering to make buying a house easier through allowing people to use some of the superannuation. The frustrating thing for the Liberals is that it may be too little too late. However, they now have some hope.
Part of the reason for this is the weakness of the Labor leader, Anthony Albanese. He comes across as a nice man who has had a physical as well as a political makeover. He used to be a firebrand left winger but has moved much more to the centre. The main trouble with him is that he seems to focus a lot on image (how many times have I heard about his working-class single mother? -even as I write I see his latest tweet mentioning that). Albanese has made a number of policy gaffes and has found difficulty in answering questions in detail. His latest for example was walking off a press conference at a railway manufacturing facility on the hustings in Perth after refusing to answer several questions about his policy costings. He is policy light.
Indeed, I’m not sure that there is any substantive difference between him and Morrison. Both of them seem to be offering to run the same machine – just with different rhetoric and branding. Albanese’s last speech I heard was basically an attack on Scott Morrison. I’m not convinced that asking people to vote for you because you are not someone else really works. The opinion polls show that Morrison is just slightly ahead in the ‘preferred prime minister’ category.
One of the more recent polls suggests that the Greens could have a primary vote of up to 12%. If this is true, then it will benefit Labor on second preferences. There is also a distinct possibility that a Labor/Green coalition in the Senate could be the majority there. Personally, I’m deeply concerned about potential Green influence – not so much because of their environmental policies, but because of their even more extreme anti-human, anti-woman and anti-Christian policies. To me having the pseudo-Marxist Greens in power would be as bad as having Far Right Fascists in power. Albanese may turn out to be an excellent Prime Minister – or he could just be the weak puppet of the Greens and some of the meaner and more ‘progressive’ members of his team.
I find these to be the most fascinating and least diverse of all the groups. I question whether they really are ‘independent’. They seem to act as a political party, are funded by a multi-millionaire renewable energy advocate, Simon Holmes a Court, and seem very limited in their ambitions (apart from ‘saving the planet’!). They are perceived as, and are, an anti-Liberal party, standing only in winnable Liberal seats – not in Labor ones. They are largely upper middle-class white, women. The irony is that standing on an integrity ticket, the campaign manager for The Local Party, was in 2007 convicted of fraud.
The Other Parties –
One Nation, the United Australia Party, etc
These tend to be more right wing and are polling at around 9% at the moment. I really don’t know what to make of them. Sometimes they speak a lot of sense, and other times what they say is either nonsense or quite chilling. The trouble for the Liberals is that they seem to be the conduit for a lot of conservative voters who are fed up with the Liberals seeming to pander to the Woke. The Liberals have forgotten that in political terms – go Woke, go broke is the maxim! If they lose, then there is a strong case to be made that they will lose because those who are more conservative don’t see the point in voting for Woke Liberals. In South Australia the Woke Liberal government was recently replaced by a socially conservative Labor one. In Western Australia the Liberals who went greener than the Greens, were overwhelmingly defeated in their recent election. Will the chattering classes ever learn?!
There is no one Christian political view. I know Liberal, Labor, One Nation and National supporters in the Christian church. It is wrong to assume that Christianity supports one political view. There are those who assume that being ‘conservative’ (I prefer the term biblical) in theology means you will be conservative in politics. That is a dangerous assumption. There are others who assume that just because Christians are for ‘the poor’, we will be left wing. An equally dangerous assumption.
Scott Morrison is famously the only Pentecostal national leader in the Western world. It’s refreshing that he can be open about his faith, without it apparently costing him a lot of votes – other that from the ABC/SMH progressive elites who would never vote for him anyway. However because Scott Morrison is a Christian does not mean that he is THE Christian Prime Minister – https://theweeflea.com/2021/05/08/is-scott-morrison-the-christian-prime-minister-ap/
Nor does it mean that every Christian should vote for him. And we should certainly not place our hopes in him. Like all political leaders we should pray for him. Perhaps more especially so, as he is a Christian brother.
I was disappointed to read his recent remarks on abortion. ‘We are not changing any of the settings and I don’t believe we need to change any of the settings. Australia has abortion laws which allow an estimated 100,000 babies to be killed per year through the Medicare levy. Sex selective abortion, primarily used to weed out girls, and late term abortions are permitted in most states. To have a Christian Prime Minister to state that he is happy with this state of things is depressing.
I have been surprised just how many politicians in Australia are Christian, or have Christian influences. Some are open and courageous in their faith – others are more silent. It would be good to have more Christians in parliament – speaking up for Christian values.
How should you vote?
I was asked this question – which is not particularly relevant to me as I don’t have a vote. And I don’t believe in telling people how to vote. In my own constituency I personally could not vote for the Liberal – who as the Australian Christian Lobby point out in their election guide – is opposed to some basic Christian positions. (The ACL have an excellent guide to the election – and suggest that we should vote for candidates rather than parties – although they recognise the obvious caveat that if you are voting for a candidate who belongs to a particular party, you are also voting for that party and its policies https://www.acl.org.au/vote_resources) I would have voted for the Labor candidate until I asked some of her supporters if she could tell us what a woman was – and they said they didn’t know! The Independent is not independent. For reasons stated above I could not vote Green. There are ten candidates in all – including the United Australia Party, One Nation, Sustainable Australia, The New Liberals and the Informed Medical Options Party! The way the system works here you have to list them all in terms of preference. I think I would be tempted to spoil my ballot paper. Although at a superficial reading I did like the manifesto of the United Australia candidate!
What’s your prediction?
I don’t know. I’m not a prophet – at least in the sense of foretelling the future! If the polls are right, then I would expect Albanese to win. Because he is an unknown quantity, I don’t know what that will mean. I fear that it might be a minority government in which he is dependent on the Greens and the ‘Independents’ – which I suspect will not be good for Australia. In one sense I would be happy if Morrison got back – not least because it would once again prove the pundits wrong. But my overall view is that without a major spiritual and moral renewal, it won’t make much difference. If the ship is going down, it doesn’t matter who the captain is!
Australia is a wonderful country, founded on Christian principles. But if it continues to reject its roots then it is headed for disaster. The Church here is in enormous danger of just being a pale reflection of the values of the culture, rather than a prophetic witness to it. (Prophetic doesn’t mean nasty, cynical and moaning – it does mean boldly and lovingly proclaiming the Word of the Lord and the beauty of Christ to a people who are in desperate need of him). We need to be guided by the Word of God – not opinion polls, ‘experts’, politicians or the media.
Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord (Ps 33:12). Where there is no vision, the people perish (Proverbs 29:18). “Also seek the peace and prosperity of the city to which I have carried you into exile. Pray to the Lord for it, because if it prospers, you too will prosper. (Jeremiah 29:7) …Amen and Amen.