Australian poll warns of declining support for major parties
Murdoch’s media Australian published a somewhat alarmed headline on Monday: “Newspoll: More voters look to the margins.”
The article reported that the newspaper’s latest Newspoll revealed that the proportion of voters intending to vote for what it called “fringe parties” and independents had reached 13%, “its highest level since. at least four years ”.
This finding further sheds light on why the Liberal-National coalition government and the Labor Party opposition jointly pushed through the Australian parliament to pass new electoral laws designed to cancel the registration of most parties currently unrepresented in the country. parliament.
These “unparliamentary” parties, including the Socialist Equality Party (SEP), had only until December 2 to submit the details of 1,500 members – three times the previous requirement – or see ban on having the name of their party alongside those of their candidates. on the ballots. This would prevent voters from knowing the political identities and agendas of the candidates for whom they plan to vote.
These laws, suddenly exposed behind the backs of the people, accompanied by a virtual corporate media blackout, are a naked attempt to quell dissent and consolidate the political establishment.
Carefully orchestrated media opinion polls, with questions that offer choices only within the official political framework, only provide a distorted picture of widespread discontent.
Nonetheless, Newspoll’s results are revealing. They show that electoral support for “others”, excluding Labor, the Coalition, the Greens and Pauline Hanson’s far-right One Nation, has grown rapidly by five percentage points since August.
This level is almost double what the “others” received in April of last year, during the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic, when their support was 6% and the media claimed that governments would bring the disaster under control within months, or at least before Christmas.
The latest investigation was carried out amid a worsening crisis, with new infections exceeding 2,000 a day, even as governments accelerate the lifting of safety restrictions and are set to reopen schools. Significantly, the poll also came just after the announcement of the AUKUS alliance – a US-UK-Australia pact for war on China.
Other polls, conducted by the Lowy Institute and the Australia Institute, show high levels of opposition – nearly two-thirds – to joining a US-led war on China, even in a suggested scenario of China integrating Taiwan. This result is despite an escalation of the anti-China campaign led by the political and media establishment.
With the coalition and Labor sitting at a low of just 37% each, the prospect looms of another ‘hanging’ parliament and an unstable minority government, with the next federal election slated for by May.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s net approval rating dipped to minus one, down 21 points from May, when his media-inflated approval rating was 58% and his disapproval 38%.
But Labor failed to capitalize on growing opposition to Morrison’s coalition government and his New South Wales state counterpart, which has been spearheading the reopening of big business.
The Labor Party primary vote has dropped three points in the past five weeks, from a brief high of 40% in late August. This reflects Labor’s bipartisan support for both the removal of pandemic security measures and the AUKUS pact.
Additionally, Hanson’s One Nation lineup, which seeks to channel discontent in nationalist and anti-immigrant directions, fell to an even level of 2% after the 2019 federal election.
The Australian gave no explanation for the drastic change in the polls except to speculate that the re-emergence of billionaire Clive Palmer’s UK Party had produced “a deepening division in the Conservative vote.”
Palmer’s group is competing with several other right-wing parties to propagate anti-lockdown and anti-vaccine demagoguery, fueling business demand that governments must force people to “live with the virus” regardless of the costs. health and human lives. .
Far more worrying in ruling circles is the danger that the deeper and deeper political disconnection heads towards socialism, as the only response to the homicidal policies of the capitalist class. This is why election laws also give electoral authorities the power to strike out parties that have “socialist” in their name, as well as “labor”, “liberal” and “green”, if a previously registered party has claimed this label. .
The alienation of the population vis-à-vis the big capitalist parties is accelerating and workers’ struggles are increasing, although they are repressed for years by the unions. This is because of a decades-long assault on working class jobs, wages and living standards, and the concentration of obscene levels of wealth in the hands of a tiny minority. This hostility has been intensified by the pandemic and is compounded by the growing danger of war.
During the post-World War II period, Australia was viewed as politically stable. In the 1949 election, the Coalition and the Labor parties won over 96% of the vote. By 2019, the combined Senate vote for the Coalition, Labor and Greens – now the ‘third party’ in parliamentary order – had fallen to 76%.
It has now been six years since the BBC dubbed Australia the ‘coup capital of the democratic world’ in 2015. By 2007, the Coalition’s John Howard became the first prime minister in eight decades of losing his own seat. parliamentarian in a crushing defeat. Since then, governments and rulers, both federal and state, have succeeded each other quickly, either in electoral defeats or in sordid plots behind the scenes.
After Howard came again Kevin Rudd, Julia Gillard and Rudd of Labor, followed by Tony Abbott, Malcolm Turnbull and Morrison of the Coalition — seven replacements in a decade. Gillard chaired the first minority government since WWII, backed by the Greens, and no government since has been more stable.
As governments step up their efforts to move the business agenda forward, the political ferment must be turned into building an independent working class political movement on the basis of a socialist agenda that attacks the cause. depth of the pandemic disaster, exacerbating social inequalities. and the push towards war – the capitalist profit system itself.
The only party fighting for this program is the Socialist Equality Party. The PES calls for the repeal of undemocratic electoral laws and the removal of all restrictions on the right of parties and individuals to stand for election.
At the same time, the SEP calls on all its supporters and readers to become SEP electoral members, and urges others to do the same. Help us recruit the 1,000 additional electoral members we need to maintain our party’s registration and advance the struggle for the essential socialist alternative.