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Australian Labor Party snatched defeat from the jaws of victory

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CANBERRA - After leading in over 50 consecutive public opinion polls, and despite chaos, acrimony, divisions and dysfunction in the leaderships of both parties in the coalition government, the Australian Labor Party (ALP) managed to lose an election it seemed certain to win. Labor voters are in shock while Liberal faithful are in awe of their new messiah.

In foreshadowing Donald Trump’s victory six months before the election in these pages (March 8, 2016), I wrote: “Of all the candidates in both parties, Trump’s appeal seems to reach the broadest and deepest with respect to region, class, education and income. They are looking for an in-your-face champion who will stick it to the snobs (elites) and scolds.” The ALP was guilty of the same mindset as Hillary Clinton’s disastrous comment on the basket of deplorables and reflected a similar hubris. The same hubris was obvious in ALP leader Bill Shorten’s response that asking for costings of climate action policies was dumb.

Opposition finance spokesman Chris Bowen went so far as to tell people who did not like their punitive tax policies on retirees to vote elsewhere. His advice was comparable to Marie Antoinette’s apocryphal advice to eat cake. Post-election analysis shows it was accepted by many voters. In polling booths where people over 60 make up at 15 percent of the population, there were 15 percent swings against Labor.

In his victory speech, Prime Minister Scott Morrison said his win was a victory for quiet Australians who work hard every day. Their dreams and aspirations are “to get a job, to get an apprenticeship,........

© The Japan Times