Labor learned last night that hell hath no fury like older Australians at risk of losing their franking credits.
Labor insiders admitted the policy to remove generous share tax refunds — paid mostly to retirees — was “killing us” in Queensland and New South Wales.
It was the unlosable election and Bill Shorten and his band of merry, progressive men and women fluffed it.
It was the US presidential race of 2016 and ‘Billary Shorten’ blew it.
It was Game of Thrones and Sussex Street is now a smouldering King’s Landing.
Labor won every single Newspoll since the last election. So why is ScoMo the Arya Stark of Australian politics?
Surely now, after the landslide victory of Mr Morrison and the Liberal party, pundits and political pedestrians alike can see opinion polls, all polls, not just the faux ones circulated in WA, are fake and useless.
Labor’s Brendan O’Connor said he was disappointed.
Disappointed the people of Australia didn’t want better for themselves and blamed Clive Palmer’s $50 million advertising splurges which attacked Labor.
Those ads also smashed up the Coalition.
In headquarters around the country Labor strategists had nothing. Other than an urge to drown there sorrows.
Meanwhile, Barnaby Joyce, the reinstated member for New England, was jubilant and for the first time in years, he was lucid.
What Joyce lacks in tack, he makes up for it with political nous.
“Sucked in, fellas” was the National MPs message to activist group GetUp! A group which pledged to dethrone high profile, unpopular candidates like Joyce and WA’s own Christian Porter.
They marketed themselves as an army of left-wing volunteers who pledged to make one million phone calls to oust the so-called “hard right” Liberals.
In reality, they couldn’t organise a piss up in a brewery.
Placards and protests annoy people. Keyboard warriors should stick to Call of Duty.
They attacked unpopular candidates in safe seats instead of going to the margins and fringes to talk to everyday Australians about what they actually care about.
“You went for the sucker trap again, didn’t you? Put all your resources into a seat you weren’t going to win … Thank you very much GetUp for being completely and utterly dopey,” Joyce said.
If #ausvotes19 has taught us anything it’s that Twitter is as an echo chamber with less influence than the now deposed Tony Abbott.
There are four million Aussie users on the platform, a platform that fell in love with Labor’s campaign promises of a more caring approach to the environment and low income earners. What the punters, people in the real world, saw was a big-spending and even bigger taxing agenda.
Queensland, a state with numerous marginal seats, spoke the loudest.
Capricornia Liberal MP Michelle Landry said the massive swing towards her was “beyond belief”.
She said she owed her success to a convoy of anti-Adani protesters, which descended on central Queensland last month.
“Thank you Bob Brown is all I can say,” Landry said.
And Labor frontbencher Shayne Neumann could potentially lose his seat of Blair, despite going in to the election with an 8.1 per cent margin.
Herbert, the most marginal seat in the country, was one of a number of Labor seats to fall to the Coalition across the country.
Claiming an early victory, Dutton attributed the LNP’s strong vote in Queensland to Morrison’s “amazing leadership”.
“He’s distilled our message down to one which the Australian people understand,” Dutton said.
Everyone seemed to have forgotten ScoMo is one of our best marketers. The man who could sell ice to eskimos. The former Tourism chief sold Australia to the world. He built Lara Bingle and he just rebuilt the Liberal party.
He traversed the country as a solo artist while his pips stayed home and pounded the pavement in the electorates, talking to people, staying on message.
All of Shorten’s memes and hashtags were a waste of data. Labor logged off and can use this time offline for the next three year to reboot. Labor stalwart Graham Richardson said the next Labor leader has a huge task ahead to rebuild after the shock defeat.
“Labor expected to win, and so there are going to be a lot of very disappointed people,” he said.
“You’ve got to inject hope back into them, get some inspiration, get them going, get them firing.”
He said the party especially had a lot of work to do in Queensland, where it was obvious voters did not trust Labor.
“That’s something that we really do have to overcome,” he said.
“If we don’t, and we continue to lag behind in Queensland as far as we are, then I don’t see a path for victory, we really are going to struggle.
“We are going to have to find a way in Queensland. There is a way, we just haven’t found it yet.
“And if we can’t beat Dutton one day, I think we should all give up and let another team take over.”
Conservative commentator Andrew Bolt said there was a need for a “climate change” within the Labor Party.
“Labor and the Greens have called this a climate change election, I’ll tell you what’s changed: the intellectual climate,” he said.
“Because looking at Labor, their confidence in global warming’s extreme policies will now be absolutely shattered.
“They cannot go to an election with policies like that ever again, and so when they’re casting around for the next leader, it cannot be someone who is signed up to the global warming scare campaign because they have to go back from that.”
Shadow treasurer Chris Bowen said it was not over for Labor at about 9pm last night, but conceded the night had not gone as planned — especially in WA. But less than hour later his leader conceded defeat and walked off stage with wife Chloe by his side.
“I understand that the Liberals are relieved that the night has not gone the way that we would have expected it to but I still don’t think this is over,” Bowen said.
“Let me be clear, I think it is tied. I think in some senses this is inevitable, I was told last week that there were five seats in WA that were 50/50, and it looks like we’re not doing too well in Western Australia, I can see that but that was always that was all was going to be a possibility.”
Mr Bowen said the 40 per cent or more of the electorate pre-polling had been a very big change to “the way that we do politics”.
Deputy Labor leader Tanya Plibersek, while reluctant to acknowledge Labor had lost the election, conceded the party didn’t do as well as hoped.
“The strong One Nation and Palmer Party preference flows to the LNP in Queensland have certainly helped them there. So, you know, can imagine the kind of chaotic, chaotic collection on that debt that will happen in the future,” she said.
“If Clive Palmer’s in the Senate, he will be asking for all sorts of things from his mates in the Coalition, no doubt. .”
Former Prime Minister John Howard said he detected a whiff of the 1993 election — referring to Paul Keating’s surprise victory over Liberal leader John Hewson — in the past couple of weeks.
“One side have been ahead in the polls, the other had gained ground during the campaign,” he said. “And I did believe very strongly that Bill Shorten had overplayed his hand on the class warfare stuff.
“Australians believe in egalitarianism. They reject the politics of class division. And all this stuff about the big end of town and the envy-driven politics of the Labor Party have done them in big time in many areas.
“I think Scott Morrison deserves extraordinary credit for the campaign that he’s waged. He’s been an incredibly effective leader. He speaks clearly. He speaks with passion, with conviction. And you understand what he’s saying.”