To main heading
Headshot of Patanjali Sokaris

Pondering the universe


2022 election analysis

Several election pundits are stating that this election is a seachange, but nothing has really changed except that those people are having to acknowledge what has already happened.

The Australian peoples' expectations of what should be done about the major issues facing Australia are finally being reflected in election results, with climate change being the major one. While many may have been hoping to not have to change in the last election, the last three years have shown that the climate won't wait until we are ready to cooperate. Something drastic has to be done, and real soon.

While Labor's push to be more ambitious was rejected at the 2019 election, they may be the laggards this time around, with successful new independent MPs wanting 60% or better reduction by 2030 compared to Labor's 43%. Labor now has the majority in the lower house, while relying upon the Greens or the independents in the senate, but the latter require moving that 43% goalpost. That Labor's vote was the lowest mandate ever, and with the Greens and climate-focused independents holding the balance of senate power, that 43% is starting to look like it cannot stay.

Climate still not safeβ–³

While the independents were swept into office campaigning mainly on taking climate action, many are still conservatives, meaning they are unlikely to really take us to where we need to go.

Tackling climate change has proven to be a strong sentiment expressed by voters in the election, but to really tackle it means making a lot of systemic changes that conservatives may still balk at. Reducing our emissions by the 60% some independents are asking for will mean that we have to severely reduce our per capita emissions, which can only be done if we reduce our demand for resource-intensive goods and services. That will mean the economy takes a large hit. I suspect that these independents will not support that type of hit when really faced with it, as it is against their ideology.

The conservative ideology relies upon the normal capitalist ideal of unrestrained economic growth, but really tackling change at 60% reduction by 2030 will not tolerate anywhere near that amount of energy and resource growth. Some may think just changing to renewables and powering manufacturing by them will do it, but getting to 60% means a lot of other areas will need to be reduced, like car usage and tourism and many other things people desire to do and use, but don't understand how much energy and resources they require.

The Greens are aware of these types of constraints that need to be in place, and have other social and societal policies in train to handle the breadth of changes required. So if it comes to the crunch, Labor may well side with the independents in order not to be pushed by the Greens on those other issues more than their backers will be willing to move, which means their social agenda might be compromised in negotiations with the independents. Hopefully, there are enough Labor MPs who are willing to make the changes needed so that we can have a better future without more delaying tactics.

Hammered Liberalsβ–³

While Simon Birmingham was optimistic about the Coalition having to finally acknowledge climate change, their electoral drubbing was rationalised as a needing to double down on denialism.

This sets the scene for a very strong right-wing alliance that may well take in all the One Nation and UAP voters who can see that their preferred parties are going nowhere. Such an alliance is in a definite minority, but would have a strong ally in the Murdoch press. However, those monied backers of climate denialism can be expected to pour a lot of money into giving voice to a Coalition that has no qualms about spreading misinformation and lies. The Liberals and their backers don't look like they miss the moderates.

North Queensland holdoutsβ–³

North Queensland seems like it still has not got the climate needing attention message, and thus still hold onto the Coalition.

While the Liberals were decimated in the election, the Nationals were largely left alone, even though their actions were largely to blame for the Liberal losses. They are supported mainly by mining companies and their workers, large agricultural holders, especially cattle grazers, and all those dependent upon them. They have been the main drivers of climate denialism in Australia, even before all the right-wing nutters got on board it as a means of hitting back at governments supposedly curtailing their fake freedoms.

The climate has always been dry and the landscape arid there, with occasional monsoonal drubbings to wet the soil, so climate concerns to them seemed like some conspiracy from city-dwellers. Their resistance seems to come from that whatever the climate is doing does not really affect them, so they do not have to change. However, coal and gas mining, and livestock emissions, means that their effective per person direct or indirect carbon emissions are very high. Their industries are very polluting, even if they are not the greatest consumers of them. The results do not affect them directly.

Unfortunately for their industries, the world is moving on, with most of Australia's trading partners moving on from fossil fuels. While Matt Canavan claimed that carbon-zero was dead, seemingly based upon the delays to some European countries weaning off fossil fuels due to the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the war has really given impetus to those countries to ramp up their conversion to renewables, just so they cannot be blackmailed by Russia in future. Affecting workers is the ever-increasing automation taking over mining, so that they will need to be thinking now about their future careers.

The grazing industry is also facing a severely curtailed future as plant-based or lab-grown alternatives promise to eliminate the methane produced from animals and substantially reduce livestock transportation resulting in less fossil fuel use. Rampant community Covid infections are still creating problems for meat-processing plants which don't allow the level of automation that the rest of the food industry relies upon, including those producing live-meat alternatives.

False hopes will not keep industries alive, nor the lifestyles based upon them. While they may be able to hold out longer than most, avoiding change will only leave them further isolated, with less tolerance towards them keeping their lifestyles when everyone else is having to change. Their stubborn climate change resistance has unfairly hampered Australia from tackling the problems for decades, so they cannot expect any further concessions from the rest of Australia any longer. If they want to blame anyone, they should blame their MPs still in the pockets of mining companies feeding them lies.

How irrelevant!β–³

This election showed how some people and organisations had overinflated ideas about their importance and influence.

The most obvious organisation deluded about its influence was the Murdoch media. Despite owning 70% of Australia's press mastheads, including 100% of Queensland's, all their recommendations and personal slurs were rejected by the voters, resulting in more Greens, independents and Labor politicians being elected. Australia is rejecting the influence of Rupert Murdoch, with Victorians doing the same again in November. Hopefully other countries take note that there are more important issues than bolstering his ego.

Right-wing candidates did not fare well, and even though One Nation polled a greater percentage of the population, it was only because they put forward more candidates, with seats which they previously contested moving away from them. Clive Palmer's UAP was a $100 million flop, proving that it takes more than brazen cash-splashing to take peoples' eye off the most important issues. Overall, extreme right-wing ideas did not resonate with Australian people, which hopefully other countries also note.

Scare mongering also failed to be effective, with voters not put off by vilification of the so-called teal independents, especially the women candidates, abandoning their past-preferred Liberal Party to look to a hopefully better future. While the largely conservative outlook of many teal candidates may not produce the broader policy changes some voters may expect, at least they no longer fall for the climate denialism refrain warning of the economic catastrophes that dealing with climate change would bring.

Compared to the 2019 federal election where voters seemed to want to still hide from the realities of climate change to keep their thinking that they didn't need to change their more selfish ways, there seems to be a realisation that they can no longer hide, but have to embrace what needs to be done and will no longer take half measures as legitimate climate policy. This is a good sign that the Australian spirit of rejecting BS is still alive and well.

Labor didn't do as well as they had hoped because they again showed that they really didn't have the courage of their convictions about climate change, having taken an adventurous stand in 2019, as Kevin Rudd did in 2007, only to back off when their initial efforts were rejected. Just shows that if you really believe in something, don't try to soften it next time around, as when people get on board, they want what they were initially offered without the compromises.

Centrist politics is waningβ–³

Voters have indicated that they accept more action is required to tackle our major issues, meaning that fence-sitting centrism also took a beating.

Centrist politics has relied upon the notion that left or right were too extreme and the people didn't want to change that much so appeasing and compromising were the best strategies moving forward. In wanting to take more effective action about climate change and other major issues, voters obviously weren't satisfied with being passive about these issues and letting the softly-softly economics mantra of centrists continue. Bolder actions are not served by centrism.

Though largely refugees from the Liberals and still mainly conservative in outlook, the teal independents are not mincing words about climate change and womens' place in society. They are not fence-sitting and hoping things will change around them any more. They are taking a stand and have been rewarded for that. Hopefully, they begin to see that many of their conservative attitudes and beliefs are also worthy of being rethought out and taking a stand against, because they have been an integral part of creating the major issues we face and the subsequent failure to tackle them.

Optimism for the futureβ–³

While many may have voted out of concern for their future due to climate change, that they decided to choose to take it on is cause for optimism.

While resisting the inevitable may seem like it shields us from a feared future, it doesn't quell our anxiety because we really know what is coming. Avoiding tackling climate change and other endemic issues facing Australian society is now coming to an end, as voters have indicated that if changes need to be made, there is no pussy-footing around them. That does not mean that there are not pockets of resistance, but that they are a lot less likely to be effective.

It is obvious that most people now don't want to have a climate catastrophe afflict us, especially amongst younger voters and women, and so they have rejected the dismissal of their concerns by some politicians as unwarranted and fear-mongering to tell them where they can shove their fake warnings. That they have chosen to take bolder leaps than Labor's revised-down climate policies is showing that they believe now is not the time to take part-measures.

While the realities of what it will really take to tackle climate change may not be appreciated, voters have indicated that they are willing to take the chance that they will be able to handle them. In itself, that projects a new confidence in the future, beyond their self-interest and short-term personal goals. In turn, that projects a confidence in Australian society being able to handle the future, come what difficulties and changes to lifestyles may be necessary. That will put Australia ahead in the battle for the future.

Hopefully, this new optimism will be noticed by people in the US, UK and other countries dealing with reactionary elements sabotaging their democracies, so that they will persevere in overcoming the divisiveness, misinformation and lies to project their own optimism for the future, and demand that proper action be taken to tackle the major issues in their own societies. While those countries have a long history of suppression of most of their populations, having examples of kindred nations rejecting such politics can help their populations see that their societies can really be better.

  • β€’Rise of independents
  • β€’Scott Morrison – antithetical Christian
  • β€’Liberals admit their party is in danger
  • β€’Contact   Glossary   Policies
  • β€’Categories   Feed   Site map

  • External sites open in a new tab or window. Visit them at your own risk.
    This site doesn't store cookies or other files on your device, but external sites might.
    Help   Powered by: Smallsite Design ©Patanjali Sokaris