Shifting political sands: Discontent speaks loudly

THOUGH they have a long way to go before they reach the dizzying heights – or depths – of Italian post-war political instability, Australians can be forgiven if they have become a little confused by the musical chairs in their prime minister’s office. 

The country has, after a palace putsch, had to acknowledge its fourth prime minister in just over two years.

Incumbent Tony Abbott was defeated by Malcolm Turnbull in an internal Liberal party vote. Mr Turnbull led the party in opposition from 2008-2009 before being deposed by Mr Abbott. Revenge is best taken cold and all that.

Mr Turnbull’s victory is just another hint that all is not well in the world of centrist, establishment politics. The weekend confirmation of Jeremy Corbyn as leader of the British Labour party is another indication of the profound discontent undermining so many democracies. The early prominence of the bizarre Donald Trump and the insatiably ambitious Hilary Clinton in the race to succeed Barack Obama feed into that narrative as well.

Despite that shifting breeze our Government has recorded a five-point bounce in its support. Fine Gael enjoyed a three-point jump in support to 28%. Labour has double-digit support on foot of a two-point bounce to 10%. Sinn Féin’s travails in Stormont may strengthen the incumbents’ hand come election time but it is hard to think that our political status quo can ignore this growing discontent forever.


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