Australians awoke on Sunday morning to a Coalition government led by Scott Morrison after Labor lost the ‘unloseable’ election.
Opinion polls, critics and bookmakers all pointed towards a sweeping win for the Labor Party, but Prime Minister Scott Morrison defied the odds and has been handed another three years in power.
Labor has now been accused of alienating their core electorate with policies that were too progressive and divisive on climate change and negative gearing.
Older Australians in particular appeared to turn on Labor over the controversial plan to scrap franking credits for self-funded retirees.
The policy was so complex that many voters did not understand what it would mean and many feared they would be left out of pocket.
As Australians wake up to the fact Labor and Bill Shorten have spectacularly lost the ‘unloseable’ election, many are wondering what went so wrong for the Opposition
Opinion polls, critics and even bookmakers all pointed towards a sweeping win for the Labor Party
Prime Minister Scott Morrison (pictured with his wife Jenny) defied the odds and is set to remain in power for another three years
A survey midway through the election campaign found one-third of voters were questioning the franking credit plan, which is more than the proportion of those who would have actually been impacted by it.
Labor had hoped to secure seats in Queensland to push them over the line, but unfortunately witnessed big swings against it.
Their climate change policy and stance on Adani cost them dearly and was at odds with many voters who wanted the new coal mine as it promised to provide hundreds of jobs in regions struggling against drought and high levels of unemployment.
It seems the party crumbled under its out of touch policies, unlikeable leader and lack of communication with farmers, the elderly and blue collar workers – alienating many of their key seats
Labor pitched a transformative slate of policies aimed at stamping Mr Shorten’s vision on the country
‘You could have been the government tonight, you fools, but you’re not,’ Nationals MP Barnaby Joyce said after his own easy re-election.
‘When they decide their voters live in Woolloomooloo, Queensland will leave you alone. In this area as well, people are talking about their power prices.
‘They want to know how they can get dignity in their lives by being able to turn on their fridge, the toaster. This is the issue that resonates with them.’
WHAT WENT WRONG FOR LABOR?
The party crumbled under its out of touch policies, unlikeable leader and lack of appeal to farmers, the elderly and blue collar workers – alienating many of their key voters.
Bill Shorten promised a great number of policies and reforms to the electorate.
The party lost hope with people over 65 who were concerned about the franking credit plan.
Homeowners were also concerned that abolishing negative gearing would result in a housing market collapse.
After six years as the Opposition Leader, it seems that Mr Shorten just wasn’t liked by the Australian public.
‘Take a reality pill, wake up and get back to your blue collar workers, get back and talk to people about power prices.’
‘Start listening to the blue collar workers, and we’ll walk with them. Farmers – they work with their hands, same people, same towns. This is a wake up call for the Labor Party.’
Labor’s climate change policy also left them open to attack as the Coalition successfully argued its plans would hurt the economy and force up power prices.
Even Labor supporters admitted that the party’s stance on Adani had cost them votes.
‘This particular project became a symbol of pro or anti-climate. The LNP wanted to message it being pro or anti jobs,’ Labor shadow foreign affairs minister Penny Wong admitted on the ABC election panel.
‘That’s challenging as a Labor Party. As party of government, we have to manage the right policy and manage explaining that in Melbourne just as we do in Brisbane and the outer suburbs and it’s a challenge for us.’
Liberal Senator Arthur Sinodinos said some of the result could be explained by those opposing the Adani project being seen as anti-jobs.
‘Adani became about jobs. It became emblematic of “we want jobs” and the Bob Brown caravan which went up there to talk about stopping Adani, had locals thinking ‘hang on, you are not going to tell us how to live’,’ he said.
Mr Shorten’s big target agenda has quickly come under fire as being too much for voters to accept, and alienating too many who they needed to win
‘You could have been the government tonight, you fools, but you’re not,’ Nationals MP Barnaby Joyce said after his own easy reelection
ABC election analyst Anthony Green agreed as he discussed the results of seats in central and northern Queensland.
‘The voters have emphatically sent a message of some sort to Canberra [about the Adani mine],’ he said.
‘There will be a lot of discussion about what’s caused this swing but I think I’ve got a rough idea what people can be pointing their finger at in terms of what was the big issue in north Queensland.’
Labor has also come under fire for their economic policy and mounting an attack on the ‘top end of town’ by closing a series of tax loopholes.
During the campaign this was slammed as the ‘politics of envy’.
One of the party’s signature policies was restricting negative gearing to new homes, and halve the capital gains tax discount from 50 per cent to 25 per cent, to make houses more affordable.
Mr Shorten also aims for half of all new cars sold in Australia to be electric by 2030
The existing policy gives housing investors a tax break if they make short-term losses on real estate investments.
But property analysts lined up to claim this would slash house prices by a quarter or more, and could even hurt the rest of the economy.
Investors weren’t happy either and the Coalition was able to spin it as punishing people just trying to get ahead.
Former Liberal prime minister John Howard slammed Labor’s approach as the ‘politics of envy’ that divided Australia on class.
‘All of this talk about the big end of town, if you make a few bob and you are successful, and you want to invest, and you want to leave some of your children, it doesn’t make you the big end of town,’ he said.
‘He has done something I don’t think Bob Hawke would have ever done, and that is trying to divide the country on class lines… I think he stumbled badly.’
Finally, Mr Shorten was personally unpopular, perceived as a factional warlord who lacked charisma – even with the help of his wife Chloe.
For much of his career, he was remembered as the man who stabbed Kevin Rudd in the back for Julia Gillard, then knifed her too.
Mr Shorten was personally unpopular, perceived as a factional warlord who lacked charisma
There will be more recriminations in days and weeks to come and some soul-searching by the ALP as to how it all went so horribly wrong
As a former Australian Workers Union secretary he was perceived as too much of a union hack in a Labor Party constantly accused of being beholden to union interests.
The opposition fell into the same trap everyone else did and believed in its own hype far too much.
With polling indicating they couldn’t possibly lose they became complacent with the campaigning and took too many risks.
They also didn’t effectively counter Mr Morrison’s attacks on their positions and allowed him to chip away during a spirited campaign.
There will be more recriminations in days and weeks to come and some soul-searching by the ALP as to how it all went so horribly wrong.
Labor’s next chapter won’t be led by Bill Shorten as he resigned as Labor leader in his concession speech.
Former Liberal prime minister John Howard slammed Labor’s approach as the ‘politics of envy’ that divided Australia on class