In the May Federal election Labor claimed a compelling victory to form government in Australia’s 47th Parliament of Australia.
A uniform swing of 3.7% saw Labor win a one-seat majority with 77 seats in the House of Representatives, the Coalition 58 seats, and the crossbenches 16 seats.
Of the 151 seats, 58 (37%) are held by women. However, in the Senate, women hold 43 (57%) of the 76 Seats.
Labor was indeed rewarded following a positive and disciplined, albeit “small target” campaign.
So, what’s next?
One of Labor’s biggest challenges now is maintaining that discipline as it navigates the volatile economic circumstances of increasing inflation and higher interest rates.
The government also has to present a coherent energy policy on the back of east-coast energy disruptions and the commitment to reduce emissions without being outflanked by the Greens who want to stretch them further than their election commitments.
The Coalition – on the other hand is left to lick its wounds and work out how to win back the voters they lost.
As is the case with any loss, vested interests are arguing about the future direction of the party.
Some argue that a move further to the Right will provide a clear conservative contrast to a progressive Labor government, while others maintain it was the conservative approach that alienated voters therefore, a move to centre is a better approach.
A challenge for the moderates is who to best lead the party in such a direction – following the decimation of their ranks by the Teal independents.
Conservative leaning Opposition leader, Peter Dutton has indicated that rather than trying to win back the predominately higher socio-economic coastal seats now held by the Teals, the Opposition should be targeting the traditional Labor-leaning outer suburban metropolitan seats, with the promise of rewarding aspiration, reflecting a tactic that worked well for former Liberal Prime Minister John Howard.
While all of this is going on, it’s been interesting watching Anthony Albanese shift gears into governing in a measured and optimistic manner, which – if maintained -will make his team a formidable force to be reckoned with come the next election.
By Duncan Bremner
Duncan is Primary’s Senior Counsel, public affairs, with extensive and trusted networks in business politics, government, and media