Reason behind Turnbull’s Senate reform and early elections bid
The Turnbull government is facing a war with the majority of the Senate crossbench after it unveiled its plans for voting reforms that could wipe out the minor parties and independents by making it much more difficult to engineer preferences deals and game the system to get elected. Reason behind Turnbull’s Senate reform and early elections bid is Australian Liberty Alliance or ALA.
Australian Liberty Alliance is a new but fastest growing political party in Australia.
The phenomenon of ALA is that the direct participation in the party is relatively small, but support among the population is substantial and growing by day. Some of that support is organized, some is not. ALA represents what people are worried and talk about in private conversations with close friends. Such conversations may damage one’s career or just put person at risk of physical violence if held openly. Interestingly, it seems like ALA is very popular with women, probably, reflecting on treatment of women in Islamic communities.
ALA has only 3 candidates for Senate at the moment. In other words, ALA is not ready for July 2016 elections at all. If elections were held in January 2017, ALA could put more candidates forward and win more seats. Finding candidates is not a simple process. One wrong candidate with, let say, bad past may topple the whole party.
There are two events that made our political elite run scared. First event was Australian domestic one – results of disastrous elections in 2010. Labour party had to form an alliance with Greens. Greens were de-facto ruling party in Australia for the whole following term. Both Labour and Liberals are very scared of the situation where a minor party would affect if not dictate their policies.
Second event that makes Australian political elite very uneasy is results of general elections in Netherlands in 2010. Yes, Netherlands.
In 2010, small, relatively new and, famed as ‘controversial’, Party of Freedom won 12/150 seats in House of representatives and 9/75 seats in the Senate becoming third biggest party in Dutch parliament. Importantly, Geert Wilders, the leader of Party of Freedom is a close friend and an inspiration for Australian ALA.
Liberals see their objective as minimizing the chance of ALA to win any substantial number of seats. This very suggestion will be vehemently denied by Turnbull but the logic should prevail and the reasons for his Senate reform become clear.