The Landslide.


In the end it was a landslide, even if some people were too stupid to see it. And the particular flavour of stupid?

“Liberal values are very much Australia’s values, and I don’t think that Australia understands that anymore.” - Senator Jane Hume.

“I don’t always think the voters are right and in Kooyong I think they were profoundly wrong in voting out Josh Frydenberg. I think it is a huge national mistake.” Alexander Downer.

“As Barnaby said to me the other day, sometimes people like to change the curtains. They just like to change the curtains," - Scott Morrison.

That’s the kind of effusively wilful stupid that gets your arse buried in landslides. It’s a joy to read. I don’t know about you but I’ve got almost nothing done this week because I’ve been wallowing in terrible takes. Boneheaded denial wasn’t the only kind of stupid on offer, of course. But the other kind was a touch more forgivable, because the world is made anew and for now at least I’m in a forgiving mood.

With malice toward none and charity for all the cotton-headed-ninny-muggins on the media’s short bus, its not surprising that a key component of a failing system fails to see the system shitting itself to pieces around them. Here at the back end of the week with the Libs and Nats agreeably turning on each other in a zombie arseclown cannibal holocaust, while Deputy Marshal Penny ‘Tombstone’ Wong rides out for the Pacific territories to lay down the Law to those CCP varmints

… Everyone but the inmates of the locked ward on Sky News Aprés Noir has settled into a consensus that yes, okay, it was maybe sort of a moment of unexpectedly large psephological slippage, which is to say a motherfucking landslide.

It just didn’t look like one to the accredited landslide experts because when a gigatonne of electoral karma descends at high speed on government, not only does it bury them, it traditionally creates the new ground on which a successor emerges.

Same thing here, but different.

Lets start with the simple, immensely satisfying fact of Scott Morrison’s spectacular fail. The vote counting elves are still squeezing the last of the goodness out of a handful of seats but the outcome is set. This was the Liberals worst result since 1949 - pretty much since there’s been a Liberal Party. That’s what happens in a landslide. You get crushed.

So what didn’t happen this time? What was different?

People had a real choice, that’s all.

There were a bunch of reasons millions of voters kicked these grifters to the kerb, and not much effort needed to separate them out. All of the polls, and the ABC’s vote compass project which collected insane volumes of data, differentiated down to the molecular level, all said the same thing.

A majority of voters in all but two seats are now all in on climate change.

A majority of voters in a majority of seats are really fucking serious about cleaning up the processes of government at the federal level.

A majority of voters, both male and female, but especially female, have had enough of gender inequities.

And everyone, everywhere, was over Scott Morrison’s bullshit.

The difference this time was the surfeit of choices offered to voters to do something about, well, everything.

The landslide wasn’t Labor’s, except in WA.

The landslide, a sudden tectonic movement in millions and millions of votes, was a political phenomenon, not a party political one. People voted for solutions, not parties.

The solutions on offer were varied, ranging from the Greens’ super maximal policies on climate change, to the ALP’s less ambitious and frankly inadequate bids, via the even more nuanced and customised platforms of the teal independents.

The system worked exactly as designed.

People voted for whatever suited them, and what suited them in the end was to smash the Liberal-National coalition into actual pieces. The smarter Nats—and there are some—know that even they took a beating. They may not have lost seats, but they lost plenty of votes, with some of their safest turf now vulnerable to independent challenge.

The ALP might never again hold a regional seat in large parts of the country - but smart, well resourced, and genuinely local independents offering solutions could do to the National Party what the teals did to the Liberal’s so-called moderates. (And as the climate crisis worsens, the Greens could do the same to ALP if it keeps opening coal mines.)

We won’t know for a while whether this is a genuine realignment, and to a large extent it depends on whether Albanese succeeds or fucks up.

But if the Libs can’t get those seats back off the teals, they don’t have a credible path back into power. Not with Dutton in charge.


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