Turnbull’s problem with women and has he bought an election?

In the AFR Fleur Anderson tells us that women are becoming demonstrably disenfranchised from the Coalition. Only 13 out of the 76 or 77 LNP MPs elected to the House of Representatives are women. There’s only one, Robertson’s Lucy Wicks, in the 35 seats of Australia’s most populous region, the Sydney basin. Three Liberal women were turfed out in favour of Labor women.

“To say Liberal women are dismayed is an understatement,” says Anderson.

Meanwhile Labor has been successful in widening its gene pool. For example, a paediatrician, a pharmacist, two former soldiers, two national security experts, a qualified rugby-league referee (a woman), and six former media types. There is scarcely a former union member or party hack in sight amongst the 26 first-time MPs.

By my count there are 29 women amongst the 68 Labor HoR MPs, 30 out of 69 if Herbert falls to Labor.

According to reports Turnbull donated a large amount, said to be $1 million or more, to the Liberal Party to see them through the election. Corporate donations have dropped off in recent times due to a variety of factors such as damaging ICAC hearings in NSW, the theft of Liberal funds in Victoria and the NSW Electoral Commission refusing to consider the NSW Liberal Party’s claim for $4.4 million in withheld public funding until the party discloses all political donations it received prior to the 2011 state election.

The exact amount is not known. Under the rules we won’t know until February. Certainly, there will be a move for real-time disclosure. However, some point out that it secures Turnbull’s leadership and adds to his image as being rich and willing to buy influence.

During the election in a rare meeting Turnbull asked Shorten to lay off his wealth. Shorten replied that having been stereotyped as a union thug he knew how Malcolm felt. But he declined to co-operate and “Seriously out of Touch” was Labor’s banner message at polling booths.

Some in the Liberal Party, grumpy old men like Eric Abetz, claimed that the LNP’s superannuation policy affected donations and caused a loss of support. How this works is a conundrum, since it affected mostly wealthy older males who tend not to vote for Labor, and Labor’s super policies would also have cut deep.

Malcolm Farr reports that superannuation played no part in diminished Liberal Party support. Mark Textor told the Party it never rated above 6% in issues of concern.

Sean Kelly raises two important issues about the donation. The notion that a party should formulate its policies to attract donations, pushed by more than Abetz, is outrageous. Similarly, how comfortable are we that Turnbull’s donation may have landed the handful of votes that won the election?

At first Turnbull said he was listening to party critics on super, now not so much. However Pauline Hanson has come out against any changes, so he’ll likely have to deal with the Greens or Labor, who want a review.

If super wasn’t an issue, the parties and pundits are still trying to work out what determined the election.

Turnbull would have us believe that his mob suffered from an unscrupulous and false Mediscare campaign by Labor.

I’m sceptical about that. The LNP deserved to lose votes over its Medicare and hospitals defunding. The Labor scare campaign undoubtedly did damage to the Labor brand, and I heard from those who know that text messages don’t normally change votes, except against the texter if they think they are being duped.

Fleur Anderson (linked above) tells us:

    WA conservative Andrew Hastie reflected that he ended up throwing away his “Jobs and Growth” talking points after he was asked by a constituent how the Coalition’s policies would directly benefit his five children.

    Hastie struggled to answer and realised the Coalition national campaign wasn’t resonating with everyday Australians.

Labor, afterall, was saying, if anyone listened, that LNP policies would cost families up to $6000. John Black said young mums did notice when the childcare payments cut out for the year just as Turnbull called the election.

Turnbull’s innovation agenda did not take flight and was perhaps part of the problem where traditional jobs were threatened.

Overall the answers probably lie in economic stress, the income recession we’ve been suffering and the two-speed economy, where the inner ring of the larger metropolises are doing better than the rest.

Inner Brisbane, for example, tilted towards the LNP, while Hanson largely took over from PUP in the 12 seats of 30 she ran for in the Qld HoR in National Party territory and in the regions generally in the senate.

Yet the swing away from the LNP in Qld was only 2.5% from a high base. Labor gained mostly in seats that weren’t marginal, so they ended up with 1 or 2 extra to the 6 out of 30 they held. Marginal seats in Queensland will be critical to the next federal election:

    Assuming the LNP holds on in Herbert, Labor will need to gain eight seats to win a majority in 2019. Four of the five most marginal Coalition seats are in Queensland, with eight Queensland seats held by the LNP by less than 4%.

Meanwhile Amanda Vanstone had an interesting chat with Alan Behm, former chief of staff to Greg Combet about how to manage a precarious parliament. Behm said you found out what crossbenchers really wanted from their speeches, then nurtured the relationship with trust and respect. He always involved Penny Wong’s staff early in any planned legislation, so that they could carry it through the senate.

Vanstone said in her experience lower house ministers may just as well have been on another planet. They simply told their own side to butt out, then wondered why things got snarled in the Senate.

Imagine how well George Brandis, Matthias Cormann, and Michaela Cash will handle things?

Maybe Senator Arthur Sinodinos, Cabinet Secretary, is the man.

7 thoughts on “Turnbull’s problem with women and has he bought an election?”

  1. Maybe Senator Arthur Sinodinos, Cabinet Secretary, is the man.

    Sinodinos seems to be a bit accident prone when it comes to fund raising.
    Abetz could do the LNP a favour by retiring ASAP from both Senate and power broking to let Colbeck get back in the ministry. He has really crueled things in Tas for the LNP.

  2. I was a bit tongue in cheek, but during the election we heard an awful lot from Sinodinos considering Cormann was the official election spokesman.

  3. What would be the dominant left wing political blog nowadays ?
    Need to keep the info input balanced without the media spin.

  4. One thing I meant to say in the post was that Labor, who ran a 22 marginal seat campaign, has to ask why it was largely unsuccessful in Queensland marginals. I don’t think there is any simple answer.

    Jumpy, blogs are not as dominant as they used to be. People often chat with their friends on Facebook. Twitter is a whole other thing I don’t participate in. I don’t have a lot of time to hang about other places, but for blogs you’d have to look to Quiggin, and perhaps John Menadue, who is probably more centre than left, but has interesting stuff.

    Not really blogs, but you could look at New Matilda, Independent Australia and No Fibs. Crikey you have to pay for, and I think there is limited access to The Monthly and the Saturday Paper.

  5. Crikey is idiosyncratic, contrarian and diverse in opinion certainly not left wing in any consistent sense. I am not sure that the left wing right wing distinction is meaningful anymore. Are we talking economics, cultural policy or social issues? We need a more complex frame to deal with debates.

  6. Jumpy, you mean:

    Any organization not explicitly right-wing sooner or later becomes left-wing.

    Neither self-evident, nor provable, I suspect.

    Douglas, I was thinking of Bernard Keane and Guy Rundle at Crikey, mainly.

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