So here we are, after one of the longest election campaigns in Australia’s history and the result is a non-result. Or should I say a non-conclusive result.
At the time of writing, we have what could be best described as a halfway house of either a hung parliament with the potential of a minority government or we are going to have another election – a re-run to try and sort out this mess.
If you believe veteran ABC political analyst and Insiders host Barrie Cassidy, despite the Prime Minister’s confidence postal votes will secure a majority for the Coalition, he “can’t see that happening” and we are “well and truly in hung parliament territory”.
Looking at the colourful collection of cross-benchers that the Turnbull government may need to cut deals with in order to retain government, on paper at least, an election replay may well seem like the least insane of ideas.
Those that are surprised by this outcome obviously have not been paying attention to the trends from overseas. Think the Trump phenomenon from the US, the shock of Brexit, and the slow but sure move to smaller fringe parties in France, the Netherlands, Sweden, Finland, Austria, Germany, Italy and a swathe of eastern European states where anti-establishment voting is now the norm and rather than the exception.
The result in our election too has thrown up an esoteric bunch of small and micro parties, some with a focus on conspiracy-like ideas such as the Hansonites, (or Hansonistas as I like to call the followers of Pauline Hanson) to those on a more balanced view-of-the-world spectrum, such as centrist populists like the Nick Xenophon Team or NXT.
For the manufacturing industry, the inclusion of Nick Xenophon into the national political spotlight should be seen as a good thing.
While Xenophon has ruled out serving as a minister in a minority government and is demanding more help for steelmaker Arrium and manufacturing industries in exchange for supporting a Malcolm Turnbull or Bill Shorten-led government, the spotlight is finally beginning to shine on our manufacturing sector.
For too long, Australian manufacturers were denied a high-profile champion in Canberra who could get things done to help the industry.
While we have had the ALP’s Kim Carr and the likes John Madigan in parliament trying to shift the governments focus from shiny things to helping support and fix manufacturing, with Xenophon we have a true media performer (or media ‘tart’ as he has been called by some) that wants a strong, viable and above all thriving manufacturing sector.
“People are worried about their jobs, their children getting jobs, the collapse of manufacturing and the auto sector,” he said in a wide-ranging interview to news.com.au.
“A vote for me and my team is a vote for accountability. I try and get better, reasonable solutions and be pragmatic,” he added.
Not only should this be good news for manufacturers, for the rest of the electorate, if a new poll is called, then we get to re-sample the delights from another sausage sizzle.
That’s wins all round in my book.