Monday, May 20, 2019

Are there lessons learned from the Australian Election?

From CNBC's the Exchange" newsletter May 20, 2019, quoted in its entirety. We should pay attention.
The Australian dollar saw its biggest rise of the year overnight after a shock win by the conservative* coalition led by Prime Minister Scott Morrison, who replaced Malcolm Turnbull just nine months ago. 
The results were such a surprise the win has been called a miracle and a bombshell--and it's right in line with Brexit and Trump's victory in terms of major electoral upsets that have caught experts and pollsters flat-footed.  
After all, as the BBC noted, "For well over two years, the coalition has trailed behind Labor in the opinion polls, and the assumption had been it would be Labor's turn to govern." (Emphasis mine.)  
Morrison thanked "the quiet Australians" who turned out to vote: 
"It has been those Australians who have worked hard every day, they have their dreams, they have their aspirations, to get a job, to get an apprenticeship, to start a business, to meet someone amazing," he said. "To start a family, to buy a home, to work hard and provide the best you can for your kids. To save for your retirement. These are the quiet Australians who have won a great victory tonight!"  
Labor leader Bill Shorten had run a very different campaign, on raising taxes for the wealthy and lowering greenhouse gas emissions. (The New York Times: "It was supposed to be Australia's climate change election. What happened?" was, and that approach lost.) 
Here's why that lost: "Labor scrutineers told [that] older voters have punished the party for its higher-taxing agenda. States where the economy is not thriving – such as Queensland, WA and country areas – have backed the [conservatives]’ agenda focused on the economy and jobs." 
It's a lesson politicians all over the world continue to ignore--at their own peril. -- Kelly Evans
*Technically, it's the "Liberal-National Coalition," using "liberal" in its original sense

** Voting in Australia, by the way, is compulsory, with a $20 Australian dollar fine (or about $14 U.S. dollars) for not turning out. That means their turnout--a key campaign focus on the U.S.--is often well over 90%.

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