In Australia all major political parties have always to compromise to get the majority of the vote to govern. Real Coalitions (not the de facto merger with between the Liberal and National parties) are almost unknown, and as we saw with the minority government led by Gillard, Australians in the main are not that comfortable with that concept. So both the LNP and the ALP try to convince the mythical ‘Western Sydney-type battler’ to vote for them. And we hear that this voter doesn’t like refugees in boats and loves family based welfare.
This is the type of voter that Mark Textor has honed in. I won’t go on about what damage this campaign based on fear and selfishness has done in Australian society (others have done this better than I could) but what I want to talk about is how getting this ‘battler vote’ can and has alienated the core of each party.
We know this with the ALP. The fact that in the past decade the Parliamentary Party has become fixated on polling, focus groups and has descended in matching the Textor inspired strategy in Asylum Seeker demonization has created plenty of angst in the Rank and File. And of course amongst the left progressive electorate the main beneficiary of this has been the Greens.
Textor’s strategy is not that hard or sophisticated. You only need to read the News Ltd. tabloids to see where it is going. And I would say that for Textor, the fact that the President of Indonesia is annoyed with Abbott is a plus. The ‘battler’ may have a stereotypical view of Indonesia and Indonesians. They are corrupt, we give all this aid money and they should be grateful etc. etc. Abbott ‘standing up to them’ shows to the ‘battler’ some macho strength, and thus increase the perception of Abbott as a strong leader that shows that he has Australia’s interests at heart.
This was shown in one of Textor’s tweets.
Indonesian junior official criticises Oz Government. 2 things happen: left media gets hard on. Govt gets more domestic support
— Mark Textor (@markatextor) November 11, 2013
The issue is that perhaps the Government may get more domestic support (although today Nielsen hasn’t shown that). But a continuation of the rift may start to affect the traditional constituency of the Coalition.
The boss of Australia’s biggest live cattle exporter is urging a swift diplomatic resolution to the growing rift between the Abbott government and Indonesia over the phonetapping of President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono and his wife.
Elders chief executive Malcolm Jackman is hoping the rhetoric between Jakarta and Canberra doesn’t boil over to action on live exports, warning it would have devastating consequences for the Australian industry and Indonesian beef consumers.
And here is where we get the dissonance between the Liberals pandering to simple nationalistic sentiment, and a direct economic impact. Especially on a section of people who would be traditional Coalition voters.
One thing is to get the ‘battler’ to be jingoistic with the assistance of the choir masters of the Andrew Bolts and Alan Joneses of this world. Another is damaging Australia’s economy and negatively impacting an important traditional Coalition constituency.
And this is where Mark Textor’s clever strategy of winning the Battlers’ votes comes crushing down.
I would expect some of the Liberals constituency (and donors) to tell Abbott to pull his fingers out and resolve the issue. Bugger the ‘battlers’. Money speaks