Labor chased Menzies’ forgotten people – and won

Labor chased Menzies’ forgotten people – and won. By Karina Okotel.

For two years, I watched as stalwarts of the Liberal Party fled to minor ‘freedom’ parties while the Liberal Party embraced big government and Woke agendas.

The repercussions of the membership drain were severe, with the most visible impact being far fewer volunteers to man polling booths. At the most basic level, without a motivated base, there are no cheerleaders to inspire the swinging voters around them. …

Menzies’ forgotten people, who he described as ‘in the political and economic sense, the middle class’, are not to be found in the Higgins suburb of Toorak where the average house price is $5 million. They are in the outer suburbs in new housing developments where middle class, aspirational voters reside. Those areas are traditional Labor strongholds, but just as the demographics in Kooyong down to Goldstein have changed, so too have the demographics in Victoria’s outer west, north, and south-east.

Despite putting candidates in the field just prior to the election being called, and with little campaign effort or resources deployed, the biggest swings to the Liberal Party in the country were in the Victorian seats of Calwell in the west (7.5 per cent swing) and Scullin in the north (6.3 per cent swing).

There is a reason why the hoity-toity suburbs in Kooyong, Higgins, and Goldstein are no longer voting Liberal (a lesson which we should have learned at the last Victorian state election). The foundation of the Liberal Party, the values at its heart, are not designed for the upper class who can well look after themselves, but first and foremost for the voiceless middle class.

As Menzies said:

‘In a country like Australia, the class war must always be a false war. But if we are to talk of classes, then the time has come to say something of the forgotten class — the middle class — those people who are constantly in danger of being ground between the upper and the nether millstones of the false war; the middle class who, properly regarded represent the backbone of this country.’ …

My hope for the future of the Liberal Party is that it returns to its roots — that it reclaims its place as the champion of the forgotten people. Those often quiet Australians…

The risk for the Liberal Party is that it continues to turn a deaf ear to its base and takes its cues from the likes of the ABC.

It’s still a class contest, but the nature of how people get rich enough to be in the upper strata has changed from private industry to big bureaucrat and the government-connected.