Australian political turmoil continues

Australia has seen a huge turnover in its political leadership with five prime ministers in as many years, with most of the changes occurring not due to national elections but because of political backstabbing and intrigue within parties that have unseated party leaders. (In the parliamentary system, the prime minister is not directly elected but is the person who commands the majority of party members in parliament.)

We may now see yet another change because Kerryn Phelps, s popular independent candidate, won a by-election in Sydney, defeating the Liberal party candidate Dave Sharma and thus erasing the one-seat majority that the ruling Liberal party had. This seat had been held by the last prime minister Malcolm Turnbull who resigned his seat following his ouster due to maneuvering by other people in his own party who installed Scott Morrison as prime minister.

In Australia, the Liberals are the right wing party and in the waning days of the campaign had tried to retain the seat by pandering to the substantial number of Jewish voters who live in that particular district.

Controversy was stoked during the by-election race by the prime minister’s proposal that Australia could follow the US and move its embassy to Jerusalem.

Mr Sharma is the former Australian ambassador to Israel and first proposed such a move.

Around 13% of Wentworth’s voters are Jewish, compared to less than 0.5% of the Australian population as a whole.

Kerryn Phelps has said any decision on recognising Jerusalem as Israel’s capital must take into account trade, security and defence considerations.

But that pandering effort failed to deliver the goods and Phelps won comfortably.

The Liberals currently depend upon some independent members of parliament to stay in power and already two have said they are not going to support the current prime minister Morrison. Elections are due next May but the government may now collapse even earlier if it loses a major vote in parliament.


  1. Mark Dowd says

    Between this and Brexit it’s kind of a nice feeling of camaraderie with the rest of the world knowing that we in the US aren’t the only ones dealing with a dysfunction shitshow of a collapsing government.

  2. Holms says

    As an indicator of just how much public opinion has swung against Liberals, that seat that they just lost has never been lost by the Liberal party before.

  3. Roj Blake says

    It just gets weirder.

    The “embassy move” was dumb as the Liberals had a pretty good grip on the Jewish vote, and in any case, many Jews would have voted before the announcement was made as they cannot vote on a Saturday. OTOH, a large proportion of the non Jewish electors support the Palestinians. maybe also some of the Jewish ones, as there is as much variety in Jews as there is in Xtians.

    The, the new PM talks the talk about protecting LGBTI students from being kicked out of religious schools, but refuses to extend the same protection to teachers. In the recent vote to legalise same sex marriage Wentworth had the 4th highest Yes vote with 81%!

    Morrison is an evangelical Xtian who seems intent on trying to drag Australia down in to the same swamp he inhabits.

  4. says

    The Liberals and their coalition partners have been driven to the far right partly by the Lizard of Oz, the Mudrake. Branch stacking by suspiciously new members with alt right back grounds has been reported at National Party meetings. The sad thing is that it has allowed the main opposition, the Labor Party, to drift ever further to the right. Independent voices like Phelps in parliament will hopefully arrest some of this slide.

  5. Roj Blake says

    Lofty, I wish you were right, but Phelps may turn out to be a “oncer”, protest vote made, back to normality, especially if the Libtards decide to run a high profile woman.

    Of course, that won’t matter to Morrison because he will be out on his ear, the electorate is so pissed off with “Captain’s Calls” replacing good policy, that Shorten will win in a canter, and if Albanese were to lead Labor, it would be Labour and daylight.

  6. John Morales says

    Roj, you’re thinking in old patterns. The Australian political landscape is becoming less bipolar by the election.

    Also, Shorten is… uninspiring.

  7. says

    @ John Morales

    Also, Shorten is… uninspiring.

    Quite, however I suspect he’ll make an adequate prime minister anyway. We’ve had inspiring and it’s tiring, Kevin07 was not an all round success.


    Roj Blake, Phelps has form as a vocal campaigner for gay marriage, and I have some hope for her future. The libs don’t have any high profile women left, unless they try to get Madame Asbestosis back into the loop. That of course goes against the ethos of the RWNJ’s running the party at the moment.

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