Odds stacked against the Liberals

Older Australians have put the Liberal Party on notice, with many voters who typically identify as Liberal faithful saying their party is damaged and that they will favour another party at the next federal election.

In YourLifeChoices Friday Flash Poll: Is the Liberal brand damaged beyond repair?, which garnered 2079 responses, 74.5 per cent of older Australians who typically identify as Liberal voters think the party is damaged. 

Around 39 per cent of the respondents were Liberal voters, 33 per cent were Labor voters, 11 per cent favour independents and six per cent vote for the Greens.

However, according to the survey, many more may swing towards independent candidates at the next election, with 54 per cent of typically Liberal voters saying they will vote for another party at the polls next year.

After a year of turmoil in the Liberal Party, with the ousting of Malcolm Turnbull, constant infighting, the ghost of Tony Abbott, unpopular policies that have hit retirees hard, instability within its own ranks and that of its National partners, and consistently losing Newspolls, the Libs are facing what seems to be an insurmountable challenge to retain government.

But, according to our members, its biggest challenge comes from within its own ranks.

Eighty-two per cent of the Flash Poll respondents think that Liberal politicians are only concerned with their own interests.

“As I see it, most politicians and in particular the Liberals, are only in it for what they can personally get out of it. The best superannuation in the country, all the perks that go with the job. They really don’t give a tuppenny damn about the rest of us, let alone the country. The current crop of Liberals are so out of touch with the majority of people and what is so galling is they fight amongst themselves while totally ignoring the rest of us. It’s not that they are self-serving in a covert manner, it is so open and obvious to everyone,” wrote YourLifeChoices member Chaz.

But that sentiment is not just assigned to the Libs – 45 per cent think all politicians are concerned with their own interests, and another 35 per cent think most are.

“You show me an honest politician and I will show you a poor politician: how many of them are there?” wrote tisme.

“I believe that the entire Parliament needs sacking! Australia has to start all over again or it’ll be the end! None of the politicians are truly patriotic; they serve one master that’s above them all; the Federal Reserve Bank and other filthy rich corporations that rule the world. They are their lapdogs. They have been carefully selected and placed there to manage our countries on behalf of their master. We have already been enslaved without even being aware of it. The nation needs to wake up or suffer serious consequences,” wrote HKW.

Liberal sentiment has certainly soured and, according to our members, the ALP is a heavy favourite to win the next election, with 32 per cent saying they will vote Labor, 20 per cent to vote Liberal, 16 per cent to vote independent, and five per cent saying they will vote for the Greens. Seventeen per cent are still unsure who they’ll mark as their preference.

When asked whether Scott Morrison is the right man to lead the Libs out of the rut, 34 per cent said no and another 34 per cent think no person currently in the party can fix the mess.

However, 46 per cent think Julie Bishop would be a better leader, 13 per cent still back Scott Morrison, six per cent say Tony Abbott could do it and just four per cent say Peter Dutton would be the person for the job. Twenty-three per cent are unsure and many say no one currently in the party is suited to the role.

“These people are all poisoned by what has happened and carry negative baggage. New, younger blood is needed,” said one voter.

“They need to find a new fresh face with genuine interest in our country and its people,” said another.

“Anyone but any of the above. Someone with some degree of integrity and less self-interest would be a start but not sure if the Liberal Party has any such person or persons in Parliament or potentially running in the next federal election,” wrote another.

It also seems the beneficiaries of the Liberal Party pantomime will be independent candidates.

“Vote independent. We need more people of the people. I am encouraged by the quality of the independents in Parliament now; the latest, Dr Phelps, will help keep the establishment honest. Labor or LNP will not be able to ride roughshod if we have a strong independent faction,” wrote Retired Knowall.

But some still have hope for the Liberal Party.

“This ‘brand damage’ has happened previously to the Labor Party and it recovered to win elections. The Liberal Party will probably go the same way. Once it has reached the bottom the only way is up. Politics is a cyclical thing, like football and cricket and a lot of businesses, one day you are up and the next you are down. That’s life. Personally, I do not think it matters much which party, Labor or Liberal, is in power, the end result is usually similar,” wrote Eddy.

One thing is for sure: the odds are certainly stacked against the Liberals and, if these numbers are anything to go by, we will surely see a change of government next year.

Do you feel that this is the end (for now) of the Liberal Party? Are you confident that the next election will force a change of government? How do you feel about Bill Shorten becoming our next leader? Do you think the ALP can do a better job than the current government?

Related articles:
Super changes lead to Liberal unrest
Liberal Party: the next generation
Franking credits could cost votes

Written by Leon Della Bosca

Leon Della Bosca has worked in publishing and media in one form or another for around 25 years. He's a voracious reader, word spinner and art, writing, design, painting, drawing, travel and photography enthusiast. You'll often find him roaming through galleries or exploring the streets of his beloved Melbourne and surrounding suburbs, sketchpad or notebook in hand, smiling.
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