Why opportunity knocks for Biff Latham and Big Red

Why opportunity knocks for Biff Latham and Big Red, by Chris Kenny.

From the 50s until the 80s, major parties were winning about 90 per cent of House of Representatives primary votes. … A 90-10 split has now dwindled to 77-23. …

The problem must be with the major parties. Hanson and other interlopers such as Clive Palmer, Nick Xenophon and Bob Katter are not so irresistible they can change the gravity of national affairs. It is more likely they have opportunistically filled a vacuum created by major parties. …

Whether it is Muslim mig­ration, population pressures, foreign investment, overseas aid or even [Hanson’s] starting point of indigenous support, … the orthodox response of the major parties has been to denounce the remedies and deny the grievances

oauline hanson in unflattering pose

On policy, Latham is far less egregious than Hanson — often showing great insight — but his personal vitriol and propensity for character conniptions have made him a fringe-dweller. … Latham is far more cerebral and comprehends the essence of aspirational Australia — just like Bob Hawke, Paul Keating, John Howard and Peter Costello. His personality faults robbed the ALP of a considerable amount …

The crucial centre ground in Australian politics is not some midpoint between Sarah Hanson-Young and Fraser Anning. The mainstream cohort leans to the Right; for all our compulsory superannuation, generous welfare and Medicare safety net, we are an aspirational and self-reliant nation. The pitch for the crucial middle ground in politics actually needs to be targeted to the Centre-Right — to individuals and families who want to get ahead.

Howard knew this and when Labor governments have succeeded federally it has not been because the electorate has embraced the Left; it has been because the ALP has embraced the right-of-centre mainstream — think Hawke, think Keating and think of what Kevin Rudd promised.

A series of sucker punches during the past decade have drawn the Coalition to the Left — lumbering themselves with the Gonski funding, National Broadband Network, National Disability Insurance Scheme, renewable energy target and, in Turnbull’s dying days, national energy guarantee. The minor parties on the Right have emerged primarily because the Coalition has drifted down this big-government, globalist and interventionist path.

If only Australia had done some due diligence:

One Nation’s reanimation can be traced to the moment Abbott was overthrown in September 2015. Its stocks have risen as the Coalition has drifted Left, culminating in the crazy-brave plan for a bipartisan consensus on climate and energy policy, precisely the path that cost Turnbull the Liberal leadership first time. On the ABC this week the former prime minister and Q&A host Tony Jones kept up the pretense of failing to understand why Turnbull was tossed. When the Coali­tion was elected on a platform to axe the carbon tax yet in government tried to deliver a climate policy Labor and the Greens could abide, there is not much room for doubt.

hat-tip Stephen Neil