Both major parties, the Liberal and the Labour, are not up to scratch in Australia. Nevertheless, pushed to the decision-making brink, the islanders have finally voted the Labour Party in. Will the lesser-evil Labour work now? A triumphant Anthony Albanese could not muffle his enthusiasm. Though his Labour Party is yet to gain a majority in the House of Representatives, Albanese gushed forth with humility-laced elation: “Australians have voted for change. I am humbled by this.”
Albanese lost no time in rolling out his long to-do laundry list. From concrete climate action to consolidation of indigenous rights to a hard crack-down on political corruption, Albanese is promising what Australia has been pining for. Good news for Australians.
Here are the starters. Albanese wants to bring his countrymen together. “People have had enough of division,” he says. As a stark contrast to his divisive predecessor Scott Morrison, Albanese wants to bring Australians under one unifying national umbrella, with integrity as its ribs and accountability in governance as its mounting-pole. Sounds fine.
But, the road branching away from divisiveness and towards national unity needs good economics as its paver blocks. Knowing well, Albanese has promised greater financial assistance and wider social safety nets. An inflation-battered Australia is sure to appreciate he is making the right noises.
A Red-Fighting Greenie
Heart of hearts, Albanese is a greenie and a climate warrior. As priority-agenda, he should work now towards cutting carbon emissions by 43 per cent by 2030 and pushing renewable energy with vigour. Expect him to dole out discounts for electric cars and hand out help to community-owned solar-battery projects. Aussies will surely love these heart-warming initiatives.
Be that as it may, many Aussie-watchers prefer to ask one weighty question: will he continue to tilt towards US and back the Aukus?” Aukus is the long-term trilateral security alliance between Australia, the UK and the USA. The Poliphoon feels Albanese should remain committed to Aukus, in the interests of both Australia and the Indo-Pacific region as a whole.
If this commitment is put in place, the US and the UK will assist Australia get eight nuclear-powered submarines. This would be a great incentive for Albanese to step on the gas for setting up a Pacific defence school, crucial for countering China’s presence in Solomon Islands at Australia’s gateway. In a logical step, Albanese should review the new security agreement between China and the Solomon Islands. Thus, if Albanese continues to aid the Pacific and keep his nation’s defence outlay at above 2 per cent of the GDP, he may manage to water down Chinese efforts to widen its hegemonic influence in the region.
Albanese has his roots in the Labour party. With great focus, he will thus focus on pushing wages and productivity up, and it will not be enough. He should go a step further to capitalise on the popular hate for Morrison and his Liberal coterie. High time Albanese realised retaining the loyalty of his literate city and women voters is key to his political success. This constituency finds great comfort in pacifist politics, which should be Albanese’s political statement for the days to come. Complementing this, Albanese should retain his independent “teal” candidates, who torpedoed the Liberals. Albanese should now hold his voting-flock together by regulating mining in resource-rich states and emissions in urban regions.
Albanese is entering the high office on the back of a decisive vote against Morrison’s brand of brash politics. The vote for Albanese is a vote for centrism, moderation and pacifism. Seen through this lens and viewed against the renewed global surge of the Right, Albanese win is quite significant. The Right-leaning Morrison was a self-styled “bulldozer.” Extremely newsworthy a brawny Bulldozer was swept away by a humble Broom, in the name of “renewal and not revolution.”
Never mind Labour will have a thin majority in the House of Representatives, Albanese will be in charge. Australian voters are bitter about their politics being a bark-and-bitch-blowout. Albanese’s first job is thus to transform Australian politics into a spirited sweat-shape-strengthen movement and export it world over. His vote has been precisely for saving Australia from self-styled “nationalists” and “protectionists”.