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Coalition's crisis has a simple cause: it keeps supporting deeply unpopular policies


The times are a' changing. Australians voted overwhelmingly for equal marriage; the NSW and Victorian parliaments are achingly close to legalising voluntary euthanasia; and the Queensland Premier recently performed a spectacular backflip and committed her government to vetoing any federal government loan for the enormous Adani coal mine. A recent poll by the Australia Institute found 63 per cent of Queenslanders thought the loan should go to other projects; just 21 per cent wanted the money to go to Adani.

Conservative politicians have a loud voice in the media but are failing as spectacularly in their efforts to win over voters as they are to prevent the march of progressive policies. Just as Tony Abbott and Joe Hockey dumped most of the spending cuts that they proposed in 2014, the Turnbull government abandoned its plans to increase the GST and is crab-walking away from its promise to cut the company tax rate for big business. Most of the opponents of equal marriage hastily abandoned their plans to drag out the parliamentary debate with a focus on "religious freedom" in the face of overwhelming public support for marriage freedom.

I am not saying conservatives aren't succeeding in some of their campaigns against unions, environmental groups or policies to support renewable energy. On the contrary, in recent years, we have seen extreme laws aimed at unions and the Turnbull government's recent legislation that makes it harder for environmental groups to raise money.

Key Points

  • Conservative politicians have a loud voice in the media but are failing as spectacularly in their efforts to win over voters
  • The $120 million opinion poll to silence a dozen Coalition backbenchers is but one example of the tactics that have the Labor 10 percentage points clear of the government in the latest Newspoll
  • The conservatives' war on renewable energy, combined with their obsession with subsidising coal mines and coal-fired power stations, is one of the greatest political miscalculations since Alexander Downer branded his domestic violence policy "the things that batter"
  • n a recent Queensland leaders' debate hosted by Sky News and The Courier Mail, not a single audience member supported taxpayers giving Adani $1 billion. Not one
  • Why are the professional politicians in the Liberal and National parties, who know how to conduct and interpret an opinion poll, so determined to support policies at odds with Australian public opinion?
  • the problem for Malcom Turnbull's government is that, when faced with a choice between pleasing most voters or defending itself from criticism from right-wing micro-parties, it focuses on the latter
  • Australian political debate is so broken it can make renewable energy, corporate accountability or establishing a national anti-corruption body "left-wing issues", in voters' minds these are simply good ideas
  • while the right-wing micro-parties successfully goads the Coalition into proving its "right-wing credentials"
  • Meanwhile, Labor and the Greens just keep backing policies that most of the public support. It's not rocket science

Fantastic article, right on the money.



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