SA election, Labor factions, and the beginning of the end of Morrison

The electorate in South Australia has removed a one-term Liberal Party government and installed a Labor government under Peter Malinauskas. And with a state election so close to a federal election, will there be any implications for Scott Morrison?

We keep being told that there’s no relationship between state and federal issues, but we think there is much for the Morrison government to be worried about. In almost every election result since the pandemic commenced, aside from a state election victory in Tasmania, there hasn’t been very much good news for the Liberal–National Coalition.

A byelection loss in Eden–Monaro, general election losses in Western Australia, Queensland, Northern Territory, ACT and South Australia, even a 3.5% swing against the Coalition in the Queensland byelection in Groom. Massive byelection swings in New South Wales. This is not really a recipe for success, if the federal government is looking for any guidance.

And if the federal government is not having much success in the management of the economy, the bushfires, the floods, COVID… and pretty much every else we’d expect from government, what better way to distract the public than highlighting factional problems in the Labor Party.

The media’s behaviour – and that of the Coalition – has been unedifying in reporting on the death of Kimberley Kitching, and the innuendos, gossip and half-truths about Labor Party factions. Anything at all to smear Labor and try to prove to the public that Labor is unworthy of high office.

The only problem is that very few people in the media understand what factions are – and the Liberal Party does have them too, despite what Malcolm Turnbull suggested several years ago – but presenting the idea of “factions: bad”, and something that only exists in the Labor Party is all the media is interested in.

The polls keep getting worse for Scott Morrison and qualitative research confirms that the Prime Minister is considered to be incompetent and untrustworthy. If a half-decent Premier in South Australia is given a 5% swing against and thrown out of office, what type of punishment will be inflicted upon the Morrison government?

Budget week will provide a few more answers and it will be the last chance for the federal government to turn everything around – and also a last chance for the Liberal Party to make a leadership change before the election: if it does indeed come to that.

That’s how bad it has become.

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