Parliamentary gridlock and compromise

Not everyone in the electorate is sad to witness the demise of the Liberal-Labor duopoly.

Before the August election, collective wisdom was that voters wanted one or the other party in power, making the present hung parliament an aberration.

Our latest qualitative poll suggests that view may be wrong and that Labor in particular, and the electorate in general, may need to live with hung parliaments, or the prospect of them, for some time.

The last election was the culmination of pressures that have been in the system since about 1994.

When shadow treasurer Joe Hockey made his comments about bank interest rates, Julia Gillard claimed Hockey was a Hansonite and that Labor was the party of reform.

In truth, the leading period of reform, in the sense that Gillard used the word, occurred between 1983 and 2007; that is, when the dollar was floated, banking and finance deregulated, tariffs slashed, social benefits means-tested, the GST introduced and personal tax rates flattened.

These reforms were never popular and provoke two reactions: one on the Right and one on the Left. The Right's reaction exploded into Hansonism, attracting blue-collar conservatives from both the Labor and Liberal parties to the stage, where in the 1998 Queensland election One Nation was the second most popular political party.

To read more from my latest article in The Australian based on our latest research, click here.

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