Why the Labor Party lost in the Australian Election?

Why the Labor Party lost in the Australian Election?

Australia’s conservative opposition swept to power at an election held on 7th September, ending six years of the Australian Labor Party rule and winning over a disenchanted public by promising to boost a flagging economy and bring about political stability after years of Labor infighting.

In his victory speech on the night of 7th September, Tony Abbott said he recognised the weight of the mandate he had been given. ”Today, hundreds of thousands of people would have voted for the Liberal and National parties for the first time in their lives,” he said before a cheering crowd. ”I give you all this assurance: we will not let you down.”

The victory for the conservative Liberal Party-led coalition comes despite the relative unpopularity of Mr. Abbott, a 55-year-old former Roman Catholic seminarian and a Rhodes scholar, who is viewed to have struggled to connect with women voters and was once dubbed “unelectable” by opponents and even some supporters.

Abbott’s popularity seems to have peaked at the right time. Two polls published before the election by Sydney-based market researcher Newspoll were the only ones in which Abbott beat Rudd as the preferred prime minister since Newspoll first began comparing the two leaders in 2010.

Observers say that there is unlikely to be any honeymoon period for Abbott, as he inherits a slowing economy, hurt by the cooling of a mining boom that kept the resource-rich nation out of recession during the global financial crisis.

Abbott was a senior minister in the government of conservative Prime Minister John Howard, who ruled for 11 years until Rudd of the Labor Party first took office in 2007.

Abbott has long struggled to connect with women voters, with Julia Gillard once calling him a misogynist and sexist in a fiery speech before the parliament. In a bid to improve his image, he introduced a paid maternity leave plan that would give mothers the taxpayer-funded equivalent of their salaries for six months. Yet the plan has proven divisive even within the Liberal Party, with some of Abbott’s own allies dubbing it unaffordable.

Australia’s new government has promised to slash foreign aid spending as it concentrates on returning the budget to surplus. Labor spent billions of dollars on stimulus projects to avoid recession. But declining corporate tax revenues from the mining slowdown forced Labor to break a promise to return the budget to surplus in the last fiscal year.

The Australian Labor Party lost the 2013 election for many reasons, and amongst others some of these deserve mentioning:

First, the Labor Party held six years which has been marred by relentless infighting between factions of former female PM Julia Gillard who was deputy to PM Kevin Rudd. This internal fighting left the public frustrated and disillusioned. Former Labor Prime Minister Bob Hawke blamed the party’s loss on its inability to unite. “This is an election lost by the government rather than won by Tony Abbott,” he told Sky News.

Second, the carbon tax has long been a thorn in the side of the Labor Party. The previous PM, Julia Gillard, broke an election promise and agreed to impose the tax in a bid to form a coalition. Labor needed to stay in power. Labor required the support of the minor Greens party — which insisted on the tax — in order to have enough seats in parliament to control the government.The deal eventually led to Gillard’s downfall, because of its deep unpopularity among people and in June she lost her job to Rudd in a vote of party lawmakers. Gillard herself came to power by unseating Rudd in a similar party coup three years earlier.The Gillard vs. Rudd drama and the squabbling between their camps left many voters to turn against the party. To many voters Abbott — once dubbed “unelectable” — was seen as the lesser of two evils. Rudd who became the nation’s most popular leader in three decades when he took on the top job in 2007 struggled this time to win over voters angered by a deeply unpopular tax on carbon emissions that many blame for steep increases in power bills.

Third, the business magnates did not support the Labor Party. Abbott and Rudd have also clashed over a tax on coal and iron ore mining companies. Abbott has promised to repeal the tax, which he blames in part for a downturn in the mining boom that kept Australia out of recession during the global economic crisis. The 30% mining tax on the profits of iron ore and coal miners was designed to cash in on burgeoning profits from a mineral boom fueled by Chinese industrial demand. But the boom was cooling before the tax took effect. The tax was initially forecast to earn the government 3 billion Australian dollars ($2.7 billion) in its first year, but collected only AU$126 million after six months.

Fourth, the media-mogul Murdoch’s political influence through his media in Australia is seriously noticeable. Murdoch’s News Corporation is the largest newspaper publisher in Australia, with a 59% market share. Around the country News Corporation’s tabloids have logged a series of hard line headlines against the Government. This attack has intensified since Rupert Murdoch’s trusted senior editor Col Allan arrived from New York on the eve of the election, ostensibly to assist in News Corporation’s editorial strategies.

There are claims Rupert Murdoch’s News Corporation has a strong vested interest in the outcome of this election. This theory revolves around major differences between the broadband plans of Abbott and the Government and how they will impact on the value of News Corp’s greatest asset in Australia, its half share and management control of the Foxtel pay TV monopoly.

Abbot has won the won the election with huge victory at the lower house of parliament but failed to secure majority in the upper house of parliament-the Senate. Abbott’s plan to secure a quick repeal of the carbon and mining taxes may prove difficult with Labor and the Greens likely to block the move in the current Senate and minor parties and independent senators set to hold the balance of power in the new Senate from July 2014.

At his campaign launch speech, Abbott described the election as “the most important in a generation”, and observers say he may yet be right, but it will depend entirely on his ability to manage politically the Senate and translate his pledges into action. Time will only tell the story.

Place your ads here!

No comments

Write a comment
No Comments Yet! You can be first to comment this post!

Write a Comment