The comprehensive drubbing received by the LNP in yesterday’s by-elections has a number of implications. It’s another effective repudiation of the absurd literalism of the High Court: candidates claimed by the Court to be ineligible to represent us due to supposed dual loyalties have yet again been re-elected after jumping through the required hoops. Meanwhile, a number of Parliamentarians whose paperwork met the Court’s absurd standards, but who were shown to be actual agents of foreign influence, have been forced out by public pressure rather than court rulings.
More importantly, though, it’s a defeat for the Turnbull government’s class war agenda, including huge tax cuts for companies and upper income earners, attacks on Shorten’s union background, and the nomination of hereditary member Georgina Downer in the family property of Mayo. Labor campaigned successfully on the theme of “money for hospitals, not banks”. As a result, the government is now facing internal pressure to drop the tax cuts for big business that have not yet been legislated.
A side effect is that speculation about the Labor leadership has been killed off. Before Saturday, poll results were suggesting that Labor would win narrowly with Shorten, but easily with Albanese. However, to the extent that Albanese was positioning himself for a run, it was on the basis of unconditional surrender in the class war. Clearly, that would have implied a very different campaign to the one that actually worked for Labor.