Just before Christmas, the Liberal Party released its review of its 2022 federal election loss. The review considered 2022 the “most serious” election loss in the party’s history and, indeed, received more submissions than any previous review, with 600 in total.
The party now holds just four of the 44 seats it classes as “inner-metropolitan.” Similarly, in top 30 seats in terms of number of female professional voters, the LNP holds just three. By contrast, it holds 28 out of 38 rural lower-house electorates.
The review noted record preference flows for Labor. Over 85% of Greens voters preferenced Labor, along with 65% of independent voters. Surprisingly, the ALP also received 35% of One Nation preferences and 38% of United Australian Party preferences.
Coverage of the LNP review has centred on its critique of Scott Morrison. The review said it was ineffective to run a “presidential” style of campaign given Morrison’s unpopularity, such that people’s preference between Morrison and Albanese ended up being “the most influential driver of voting intention.”
However, elements of the review demonstrate the very problems the party needs to overcome. The LNP correctly acknowledges the poor treatment of women in the party as contributing to “a loss of political capital and an accumulation of negative issues impacting on the government.”
However, the party apparently remains clueless on climate change. The review says nothing about the bushfires, floods, or Morrison’s infamous refusal to financially support Rural Fire Service volunteers deep into the 2020 fire season, as was so colourfully denounced by Paul Parker from Nelligen.
The review mentions “climate change” once in a discussion of the Teals in its second half. More attention is focused on “an extensive left activist apparatus” that it blames for its inner-city results.
It also says that because of the pandemic, the government “placed the national interest first but at significant political cost.” This ignores that fact that in the first half of 2020, the Coalition government regained the two-party preferred lead that it had lost by January 2020.
Regarding the swing against the LNP in seats with the most Chinese-Australians, the review states that the LNP’s opponents pushed an “obviously incorrect” narrative that the party is anti-Chinese. But the party cannot court nationalistic and racist political sentiment and then cry foul when it faces criticism on this score.
Judging by this review, at least, the Liberal Party is not ready to make the changes it needs to make for the multicultural major cities or Gen Y and Gen Z voters as climate change bites, coal plants age, and more and more renewable energy comes online. It’s not clear who among the current LNP representatives could make for a viable prime minister.
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