Australian election update: Social media, weak leaders and strong enemies produce political culture crisis

Australian election update: Social media, weak leaders and strong enemies produce political culture crisis. By Greg Sheridan.

This low-rent election campaign we’re going through is fascinating because it’s getting closer and more unpredictable. But it’s a spectacular illustration of the decline in our political culture.

Fundamental issues such as the giant structural deficit we’ve built into our budget, our shocking productivity performance, the collapse of an economic and population growth ethos that is essen­tial to our security, our dreadful failure to provide any meaningful defence capabilities are all neglected.

Politics is reduced to three considerations — who can I give targeted money to in return for votes; who can be shamed, abused and demonised for offences against identity politics etc; and did either leader say something stupid or that could be portrayed as stupid?

Most advertising will be directed at convincing us that two perfectly decent men — Scott Morrison and Anthony Albanese — are dunderheads, ideologues or bigots. …

Anthony Albanese — next Aussie PM?

Our two main parties have grave limitations but mostly live in the real world. They now command less than 70 per cent voter support between them. The miscellany of minor parties and independents is often utterly detached from reality — as in the Greens this week declaring China is no threat to Australia — and none of them even pretends to present a coherent program for government. …

Social media is hurting our democracy, our enemies take huge advantage of this, and our leaders are undermining their own parties as institutions.

I knew Anthony Albanese at University, because we were in the same ALP branch (I was younger and more naive then…). I had him pegged as a typical midwit activist, always pushing the latest trendy left cause like boycotting Israel, and trying to get the working class members of the branch to go along.

He’s nothing obviously extraordinary, not really leadership material. Yes, he’s a decent and trustworthy person. However, if the ALP had elected Jim Chalmers as leader instead of Anthony Albanese, I think they would win this election easily. As it is, despite the polls, Labor might just lose it.