COVID politics and the end of the Liberal Party?

The politics of the COVID pandemic are still being played as hard as possible – at a time when the public craves unity and expecting governments to manage the crisis in the best way possible.

It would seem that the Queensland and Western Australian Governments are doing well – case numbers are zero – but they are the governments the media are attacking (as is the federal Liberal Party), while ignoring the problems in NSW, where 1431 cases were recorded yesterday. It doesn’t make sense, until you realise who owns most the media.

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Tribal partisanship is perhaps at its worst level ever in Australian history, as is the partisanship within the media, which is keen to see a return of this federal government at the next election. And the election may be with us early than we think: the theory is that NSW will open up in late October – irrespective of how high the daily case numbers are – and hold an election in November.

It’s a radical plan, as is the radical belief of the NSW Premier, Gladys Berejiklian, to allow as many deaths as the coronavirus will accept, all for the sake of a sacrifice to the altar of rampant capitalism. And for the NSW Liberal Party. It will be a day of shame, not a day of celebration.

Are we seeing the end of the Liberal Party? It’s not the party of Robert Menzies, but more like the party of John Howard: it’s illiberal, it’s intolerant, it neglects the people on the periphery. The modern Liberal Party is a conservative outfit which has adopted the worst traits of Boris Johnson and Donald Trump. Political parties need to be relevant to the needs of the community, but as the world makes a turn to more communitarian values, Australia is stuck with a reactionary group of extremists who are increasingly out of touch.

This doesn’t mean the Labor Party will automatically win the next federal election: they have their own problems, and will still need to convince the electorate that they can be a viable government. But they have a better chance of winning the election than they did at the beginning of 2021.

The report into “who knew what” about the sexual assault of Brittany Higgins at Parliament House in 2019 was meant to have been completed several months ago – but how can a report be released if it doesn’t exist? We doubt that it will ever be released – and if it is, that’s the end of Scott Morrison – and the Liberal Party, and possibly for a long time.

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