Andrew Bolt draws our attention to an interesting article in the latest Spectator.
Last time around they managed to put her in gaol. Now they are rolling out the red carpet. Pauline Hanson and her strategists must be shouting from the rooftops and doing back flips. They could never have expected such kid glove treatment from their mortal enemies.
In a radical new departure from days gone by, it is clear that the Liberal Party is now snuggling up to One Nation for nothing other than short term political advantage. (No, surely not?!)
‘One Nation is a lot more sophisticated than it was twenty years ago’ is one of the new lines proffered by Liberal strategists and senior ministers. And ‘just because we are preferencing them doesn’t mean we agree with everything they say’. Brilliant!
First things first – contriving to have Mrs Hanson sent to prison was a huge mistake and was disgraceful. The individuals involved should be ashamed of themselves.
Also I do not believe that One Nation are “a lot more sophisticated” now than what they were 20 years ago. True, they no longer blame Aborigines for the nations problems – now they have found an immigrant group to blame. Overall, however, I think their policies (but for substituting Muslim for Aboriginal) are much the same now as they were 20 years ago.
One Nation are not using their current popularity to inflict as much damage as they can on coalition governments. In electoral terms, it seems, they are being less spiteful. Or perhaps not; in Keatingesque terms perhaps Mrs Hanson is planning on doing them slowly.
What of the preference deals?
I find How to vote cards and preference deals to be quite bemusing. I am always astonished by the excitement these features of Australian elections generate. Arrogant too – political parties tell people how to vote!
By this desperate act, the Liberal Party is legitimising and giving permission to its supporters to go and vote for Hanson.
This may come as a shock to the political classes but voters don’t need permission to vote for whomever they please. For many years I have not required the Liberal Party’s permission to deviate from their how to vote card by putting Labor last, and not the Greens. They go second last. At the last state and federal elections I didn’t need Liberal Party permission to preference them second and not first.
The important point to note is that political parties have to follow the voters. This is the duck hunting theory – if you want to hunt ducks you have to go to the ducks (or lure them to you). So if any given political parties vote is going to defect, it needs to lure back the votes either by preference deals, or by luring back the voters. The first is a short term strategy, the second is a long term strategy. The Howard government pursued the second strategy. We all know that the current Canberra mob don’t have the same skill set that Howard had available to him.
Extremist views are often generated by economic insecurity. So the Turnbull government should be focusing on economic issues – cut taxes, cut red take, cut green tape, reduce wasteful government expenditure.
Final point – it seems to me that the whole idea of preference deals must be to maximise the two-party preferred vote. From a party perspective they want to get as many first preferences as they can, but failing that recovering any leakage from their vote via preference deals is the best strategy they can follow. In many respects this a like trade; you don’t have to like your trading partner, but should trade as long as there is going to be a beneficial exchange.