by Jim Hayes
It now seems certain that Peter Dutton will take the leadership of the Liberal Party. Some media commentators have been calling him a moderate. He is nothing of the kind. Dutton is the opposite, a hard-nosed representative of the radical right that has taken hold of the party.
That the Liberals should even be contemplating him as their new leader shows their unwillingness to listen to the people of Australia. Their agenda is to press on and drive Australia into the brave new world of extreme neoliberalism and big brother authoritarian government. They see that Australia must be dragged kicking and screaming into the future they want.
The problem is that Australia has emphatically rejected this.
A far as they are concerned nothing has changed. Their style is not to listen, consult and reach agreement. They believe they know best. If Australia turns against them, its Australia’s fault, not theirs. This is the mindset. It is born out of being used to privilege and sense of class distinction. The interests of their class are not that of the multitudes.
After the devastating blow, thew Liberal Party will be re-organised to continue with the drive down the path of further reaction, and this is the reason why it is important for Australia to ensure that they fail. The way to do this is to build unity on that sort of future Australia wants, like an economy that is for people first, extended democracy that allows, consultation, participation, and collective involvement; and a society that values and practices equality, cares about the planet, and about each other.
Labor in government will likely take one or two tentative steps in this direction. This should be welcomed as a start. Australia must start to ask for more and insist that politicians must be held accountable, whatever the stripes they wear. The nature of the election result, and the political shift on the ground that made it happen, provides a wonderful opportunity for the people of Australia to assert their will. These opportunities seldom come. Now that it has, we should seize the day and move forward.
Not as arrogant know-alls. Australia needs a popular movement that does not live in a bubble but engages with everyone, building unity and a sense of community and empowerment.