As election day is now imminent, it is timely to point out that the campaign by Morrison & Co to persuade voters not to cast a ballot for independents or minor parties is a hollow scare campaign, for Australia has a long history of 'hung' parliaments, where neither major party has a majority.
The Liberal MPs in danger of losing their seats to independents, backed by an alarmist chorus from Rupert Murdoch's News Corp, are warning of wild consequences if some of these MPs on whom the next PM relies for his numbers are not subject to the discipline of the party whips.
As Rick Morton wrote in The Saturday Paper: "The papers have been "frenzied" in their approach to the "teal independents" backed by Climate 200's Simon Holmes à Court. As a former senior media executive says, "They have been absolutely feral about the independents."
This is ironic given how much of the past nine years have been characterised by indiscipline and chaos. So let's see if the hysteria Morrison is trying to generate has any validity.
"The factions in both parties have been behaving like unruly independents for 15 to 20 years, sacking leaders willy-nilly and controlling government policy", wrote Alan Kohler in TND.
The fossil fuel warriors removed Malcolm Turnbull as leader in 2009 and again as PM in 2018. He was then replaced by Scott Morrison, who applied for the job in February 2017 when he was treasurer by waving a lump of coal around in Parliament. His application was accepted.
Last year, the Nationals and the Liberal Party's right wing allowed Morrison to do a partial pivot on climate change ahead of the Glasgow conference as part of a deal in which they were threatening to cross the floor. In other words, they behaved like independents.
The result is minority rule, since a clear majority of Australians want stronger action on climate change.
The result is minority rule, since a clear majority of Australians want stronger action on climate change. And now, as a direct outcome of that inadequate deal, the members of the Liberal Party's moderate faction who lost the argument in the party room are facing the loss of their jobs to a wave of climate change independents. The MPs include Treasurer Josh Frydenberg.
The right-wing "independents" within the Coalition, including but not limited to the Nationals, and the fossil warriors in News Corp have only themselves to blame for the prospect of a hung Parliament.
But it just means the balance of power would switch from independents within the parties to independents without, and from secret deals in the party room to transparent ones in Parliament. This is a contrast to be welcomed.
Would it be chaotic and unstable? That depends on whether the PM, who had persuaded enough independents to support him, delivers on the promises he made to get that support.
Julia Gillard delivered on her promises to Tony Windsor and Rob Oakeshott between 2010 and 2013, and, as a result, 561 pieces of legislation were passed, more than Kevin Rudd managed between 2007 and 2010 and even more than John Howard got through when he controlled both houses of parliament between 2005 and 2007.
During the only other hung Parliament, between 1940 and 1943, the two independents who supported Robert Menzies as PM did bring him down after 12 months, in 1941, and installed opposition leader John Curtin.
But in The Conversation, Frank Bongiorno, professor of history at ANU, and David Lee from UNSW, argued that "the instability of that Menzies government had nothing to do with the independents. Its problems were self-inflicted, coming from within."
Curtin then led a stable government that implemented ground-breaking legislation, including the uniform tax laws that led to the federal government monopolising income taxation.
The idea that chaos will haunt any Parliament in which independents and minor parties hold the balance of power is ridiculous, especially given what's been going on within the parties over the past 20 years.
Their job is to represent their electorates, push any policies they campaigned on, such as climate change and a federal corruption commission, and support someone to be prime minister who can then choose a cabinet and run the country. And if that PM doesn't do what he said he would do, then they should withdraw their support, of course.
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