Melbourne has had a big week: it’s long suffering populace had to put up with a barrage of abuse from the Melbourne conservative media, a rent-a-crowd protest dressed up like union members and 74-year-old grandmothers attacked the city and, to top that off, they also had a 5.8 Richter magnitude earthquake.
Of course, there were union members within the rent-a-crowd but it wasn’t an event organised, promoted or condoned by the CFMEU: real unionists wouldn’t protest on the West Gate Bridge – a site where 35 union died when a slab fell from the bridge in 1970; real unionists wouldn't desecrate the Shrine of Remembrance; and real unionists certainly wouldn’t cross-dress and wear wigs to try and trick and police into thinking they’re a 74-year-old grandmother.
But it’s a handy lever for the Morrison government to pull in the lead up to the next federal election, happy to create a link between the riots, unions – even though they had nothing to with the riots – and, of course, the Labor leader: Anthony Albanese.
And you just know that an election is coming up soon: Scott Morrison went to New York and it wasn’t clear why, until we checked his itinerary and found out he was meeting with the head of News Corporation – Robert Thomson. Not quite Rupert Murdoch, but Murdoch is over 90 years old, so perhaps not up to anointing Morrison as his chosen leader and allowing him to kiss the ring of approval.
Every Prime Minister does this in the lead up to an election, and Murdoch has such a hold over Australian politics that it’s now a ritual. Bill Shorten didn’t travel to New York before the 2019 federal election, and he paid the price: he didn’t become Prime Minister. Whether he likes it or not, Albanese should head over to New York as soon as possible to kiss that ring: in Australian politics, it’s the only way to become Prime Minister.
The latest Newspoll – yes, it does show that Labor is ahead in the polls, and has been ahead in all polls since October 2020. But we’ve seen this story before: 2019 – Labor ahead in every poll for three years. 2016, just before the election, and especially during the time of Tony Abbott’s prime ministership. Before that: 1998, 2001. Labor had massive leads in all of those Parliamentary periods but ended up being empty handed on election day.
So, put away that champagne, stop imagining Albanese living in The Lodge and leading the Labor Party to an election victory in the next federal election. The only poll that counts, is the one held on the election day (and the preceding two-week early voting period).
It’s a cliche, but it’s the truest cliche in politics. These polls mean absolutely nothing.