Scott Morrison did some good things, but why did he lose? Like many contemporary leaders, Morrison overcentralised authority and was uncomfortable with strong leaders around him. He let way too many big cats leave his government. The Liberal Party had much less of a women problem and much more presence, authority and chutzpah in foreign policy when Julie Bishop was deputy leader. Mathias Cormann was a central buttress of credibility. Morrison should have moved heaven and earth to keep those two and others in politics.
Similarly, if in 2019 Morrison had brought Tony Abbott back to the ministry, the voters of Warringah who had supported him might not have thought him absolutely yesterday’s man.
Morrison had too little respect for process, especially within the Liberal Party. Was it so brilliant for Morrison to delay preselections in the NSW Liberal Party to the last minute, then choose them himself? Candidates were not in place, and rank-and-file members were denied the chance to participate in preselections. What is the point of belonging to a political party if you can’t influence policy or even vote in a preselection? …
Even after changes, the national curriculum is an abomination. Instead of making otiose statements about transgender sport, why not run a serious campaign on that? But Morrison had accepted that education minister Alan Tudge should sit with his back to the class in the naughty corner and no Liberal campaigned on the issue at all. That’s really, really stupid. …
Albanese’s rhetoric went MAGA for a while:
The only leader I heard talk about his religious faith was Albanese, whose easy formula, that he had been born into three great faiths, the Souths Rabbitohs, the Labor Party and the Catholic Church, was effortlessly effective. The Liberals should be worried that Albanese declared in his well-crafted victory speech: “This is the greatest country on earth.”
There are traps ahead for Albanese but that statement is an implicit rejection of the hostile characterisation of Australia in almost all academic circles. It is a rejection, too, of the denigration of Australian history you get from Paul Keating. “This is the greatest country on earth and it could be even better” is an almost perfect basis for a program of social democratic reform, or indeed it could work for conservative reform.
And an aside:
Johnson, in contrast to Donald Trump, is neither macho nor abusive in campaigning style. He is the wittiest politician I’ve interviewed. The most notable quality about his political style is that he’s perennially good humoured. He never takes offence and he always tries to cheer you up.