Labor’s West Australian election victory seals Scott Morrison’s fate
Labor’s West Australian election victory seals Scott Morrison’s fate

Why Morrison won’t win the next federal election

Labor's landslide WA election victory makes it almost impossible for Scott Morrison to win the next federal election.

It certainly terminates any suggestion - promoted by the always overexcited Canberra press gallery - of a snap early election later this year.

Despite the casual - in Morrison's case, maybe rather desperately hopeful - dismissal of a "state result" having any implications for federal politics, the WA result will dramatically and deeply impact federal politics across the board, all the way to and including the result of that next federal election.

On a minor level, it further suggests that if treasurer and PM-in-waiting Josh Frydenberg is to become prime minister, he will have to win the job from opposition, like current Labor leader Anthony Albanese.

I would assume that if Morrison did lose the election he would not remain leader; after the last 12 months Frydenberg would have no serious opposition.

Clearly, the "big thing" the election result demonstrated - as did the somewhat less overwhelming Queensland outcome - was the way state governments and state premiers have been big winners from their independent, state-focussed - keep our citizens safe - approach to fighting the virus.

Lockdowns and border closures have been clear electoral winners - in part because the consequences have been softened by federal government spending, especially on JobKeeper.

That might seem to support Morrison's contention that it would - will - all be different in a federal election.

I suggest not. I suggest the popularity of state leaders and state parties - of which the majority are Labor - will flow into the federal space.

Apart from anything else, state incumbency gives Labor vastly superior resources of both people and money. Good luck to the Liberals just manning booths in WA in the federal election - and something similar goes for Victoria, despite a former Liberal premier's newfound enthusiasm.



It's forgotten how narrowly the Coalition won the 2019 election; indeed it was never fully understood even by, especially by, the so-called 'experts' at the time.

As I wrote then: thank you Queensland and thank you Pauline Hanson.

Overall the coalition won 77 seats in a 151 seat parliament. In Queensland they won 23 seats and Labor just six. WA was a milder version of Queensland: 11 seats to five.

In simple arithmetic Labor won not just more seats in Australia excluding WA and Queensland - and even in Australia excluding only Queensland - than the Coalition, but a majority of such seats.

Of course, it's the total across Australia that counts and delivers government, but the point for the 2022 election is that the special factors that were so negative for Labor in Queensland and WA will be much less or even absent.

They were three, broadly: Hanson, Clive Palmer - he didn't win many votes, but his $60m anti-Labor advertising spend significantly helped the government - and the climate change-driven attacks on coal-mining and the Adani project in spectacular particular

I doubt we will see a caravan of anti-mining southerners streaming up to Queensland to "educate" the northern yokels in the coming election.

Further, the very different - self-inflicted - factors which worked against Labor winning enough seats in NSW and Victoria, that could have overcome even that extraordinary imbalance in Queensland, won't be hanging around Albanese's neck like they did Bill Shorten's.

These were the attacks on negative gearing and franking credits. They won't be there in 2022.

All this is before, I suggest, even accounting the more intangible but immensely potent wider swings in community sentiment, on a range of fronts, that favour Labor and cause serious ideological and functional problems for the government - from climate change to identity politics.

A former PM used to muse about the "Paris option". It's never looked better, certainly to former finance minister Matthias Cormann.

Originally published as Why Morrison won't win the next federal election

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