And the chickens come home to roost

It’s almost two weeks since Labor ousted the LNP from power but it was a strong indication that the chickens had finally come home to roost – the Liberal brand is no longer a saleable commodity.

The crushing election loss was a bruising indictment of the Liberal brand - the people of NSW were no longer buying what the Party and Dominic Perrottet were selling.

5 April 2023



THERE was no ifs, no buts that the New South Wales state election result was a resounding defeat for the Liberal-National Coalition government and a clear victory for Labor. And on the Central Coast the 12 per cent swing toward Labor in the seat of Terrigal is something incumbent Adam Crouch needs to deeply think about.


Although Labor candidate Sam Boughton didn’t take the seat, it was a battle that saw voters express their discontent with the Liberal brand and the shenanigans of the previous government. Yet, it was still a victory for Sam Boughton, because he achieved what no other candidate contesting the Blue Ribbon seat of Terrigal has ever done – he was snapping at the political heels of the sitting member.


Labor’s victory on the Central Coast and across the whole of NSW occurred in an environment of an increasing minor-party and independent vote, and the largest crossbench in modern NSW history.


Without doubt the state election had a lot of parallels that were not dissimilar from last year’s federal election result, which has left the Liberals in tatters. But what is more pertinent is the reflection of the voter – no landslide majority, just  a slim parliamentary majority alongside a large crossbench, with the outgoing government badly defeated. But regardless, the people of NSW clearly were not happy with the Coalition. The Labor victory was bigger than last year’s federal election result and Labor managed to pick up a number of regional seats in addition to gains in urban areas.


And while Liberal insiders and ousted pollies lick their political wounds, making excuses for what they think went wrong, they still won’t come to terms with hubris of a party out of touch with the reality of what the people expect and want. Malcom Turnbull put it succinctly when he said, the “chickens are coming home to roost” for the Liberal party, saying it is losing its heartland of electoral support due to a focus on fringe right-wing issues and ignoring urban voters.


The former Liberal leader, who understood that pandering to Liberal mates was no longer an option, and lost the top job because of his convictions, has chided the opposition for mounting election losses in recent years, claiming current Liberal leader Peter Dutton will struggle to fix the issues plaguing the party in the wake of the once-in-a-century by election defeat in Aston.


“The base of a political party is the people who habitually vote for you. What you’re seeing is a larger and larger percentage of people who habitually used to vote Liberal, not voting Liberal,” Turnbull told Radio National.


“If you can’t hold your heartland, how can you succeed?” said Turnbull.


Turnbull said that the party had gone backwards dramatically since he was overthrown as leader.


“You get this madness that the party is being told by its media backers to move further and further to the right, focus on value issues, whether transgender kids or denying climate change, all of this craziness that been infecting the party for years … those chickens are coming home to roost, it’s electoral catastrophe,” Turnbull said.


Turnbull’s reflection on the Liberal brand no longer being viable, is a reflection of the NSW state election – political arrogance from a hitherto government that had long since lost the trust of the people. This very lack of trust is why a previously unknown Labor candidate on the Central Coast gave the incumbent Member for Terrigal a gut-wrenching race to the finishing line – a wakeup call for 2027.

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