South Australian election shows everything that is wrong with the Liberal Party

Premier Steven Marshall fell to a deserving loss, and Liberals everywhere should take note.

South Australian Liberals and Premier Steven Marshall suffered a crushing defeat in the state election last Saturday 19 March.

The Liberals lost power to the Labor Party and new Premier Peter Malinauskas in a landslide after just one term in government. Labor gained 8 seats and now holds a majority 27 seats in the 47 seat lower chamber.

Including the additional seat lost to an Independent, the Liberals lost a total of 9 seats. All up, on a two-party preferred basis, Labor enjoyed a swing of 6.5% to win 54.6% of the two-party preferred vote.

Given that incumbents have tended to be re-elected during the Chinese coronavirus pandemic, this should be a wake-up call for Liberals everywhere.

In summary, they were thumped in South Australia, and it wasn’t a surprise.

Despite supposedly being the party of individual liberty, South Australia was renowned for some of the most draconian restrictions during the lockdowns over the past two years, including restricting South Australians from travelling more than 2.5 kilometres from home. In comparison, in Victoria the limit was 5 kilometres, while former New South Wales Premier Gladys Berejiklian was able to hold the line at 10 kilometres until the selfish health authorities forced her to reduce it to 5 kilometres.

These and other restrictions also lasted far too long, destroying many small businesses in the process. Given small business tends to vote for the conservative side of politics, to say Marshall and the South Australian Liberals shot themselves in the foot is an understatement.

Federal implications

But does this result point to issues solely within South Australia, or to issues of wider concern in the community?

I think it is the latter, which doesn’t bode well for Prime Minister Scott Morrison and the Coalition with an election due within the next two months.

This is because Scott Morrison and the Federal Liberals have also forgotten what they and their party are supposed to represent. Instead, we had draconian COVID restrictions at the Federal level too, including the closing of our international borders for 18 months and restrictions on the number of Australian citizens able to return during this period.

Given the right of citizenship supposedly entitles you to return to your home country, this is just one example of how far Morrison and the Liberals have veered from ideas of individual liberty and the rule of law.

But that’s not all.

Untold billions have been splurged by the party of fiscal responsibility (!) during the crisis, all because of the restrictions that should never have been imposed in the first place.

I realise that a lot of the restrictions such as lockdowns were imposed at State level but these were imposed with the active collaboration and financial support of the Federal Government.

So while on the one hand, the Federal Government was imposing restrictions that devastated small business, on the other it was pumping out untold amounts of money to compensate businesses and their employees for imposing these very restrictions.

No mandates

Another issue that hasn’t sat right with believers in individual liberty such as myself are the vaccine mandates. These mandates were imposed by the Federal Government in its four point plan to get Australia out of the mess caused by the malevolence of the Chinese Communist Party.

I encourage those who are elderly and/or otherwise have pre-existing health problems to get vaccinated. However, while I am vaccinated and have also had a booster, I don’t support mandating the vaccine nor discriminating against those who, for whatever reason, don’t want to get vaccinated.

I believe in treating people as adults, not children, something that is consistent with everything the Liberal Party is supposed to believe in.

While I and those who agree with me might be in the minority, this is why the Liberals have lost a not immaterial amount of the primary vote to the Liberal Democrat Party and other smaller parties on the right such as One Nation and the United Australia Party.

In my view, this is going to make it even more difficult for Scott Morrison and the Liberals to emulate 2019 and pull off another miracle victory.

If I am correct, then Morrison and the Liberals only have themselves to blame.

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