The recent Australian election that saw Labor win the election gives a stark warning to Malaysian politicians. Australian voters took their cumulative rage and despair to the ballot box and major parties could no longer take them for granted.
But come election night 2022, it became clear — horribly so, for the MPs who were personally escorted to the exit by their electorates — that the Australian voting public is engaged, alert, and has its BS detector dialled up to the max.
The voting patterns around the country were intricate, and analysts in the major parties will likely be going over them for years.
But three major drivers were immediately apparent. Women. People worried about climate change. And a third factor: a vast and nebulous rage against the perfidy and shallowness of modern politicking, in which major parties take their voters for granted and stubbornly fail to do their one job, which is sorting out solutions to difficult problems.
Scott Morrison conceded defeat and announced he will quit the Liberal leadership, declaring he accepts the verdict of voters.
But why does this matter to Malaysian politicians.
For one, the politicians deserted women voters thinking their needs were not important. Women voters are income earners, bread winners and champions of the family were tired that the government was not hearing their needs for problems of high cost of living, and women’s rights.
Voters are also increasingly worried about the future without a solid climate action plan. Record floods and bushfire experiences saw that the government really didn’t plan – or have any idea how to move forward with climate action. Australia a traditional mining country with many Australian politicians closely connected to mining magnates refused to create any viable climate action plan frustrating votes.
The third which Malaysian politicians too suffer from is the absolute disconnect that politicians suffer from their voter base. While voters are worried about job security, home ownership and putting food on the table, politicians have the luxury to engage in pointless debates much ado about nothing.
The result, voters deserted major parties moving towards independent representatives. A large number of Chinese Australian voters who were traditional Liberal voters, deserted the party en masse over Australia’s adversarial stance with China. Something they clearly did not appreciate.
As countries head to unprecedented times post Covid with rising interest rates, economic uncertainty, Malaysia like Australia needs a stable government and a savvy set of politicians who can get the job done rather than taking about how great they are at their jobs.
Azizi Khan lives in Melbourne, Australia building a digital bank. He is a keen political observer and commentator. All views are entirely his own.