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Wentworth Defeat Pushes Australia’s Prime Minister Into Minority Government

He pointed to the election this past week in Bavaria that shook Chancellor Angela Merkel’s government in Germany, as voters shifted their allegiance away from her conservative allies toward the progressive, pro-refugee Greens.

“Australians are disconnected from politics as a whole, and that also reflects a broader trend in Western politics,” Mr. Roggeveen said, adding that “center-left and center-right parties were created out of social and economic conditions that just don’t exist anymore.”

Australia’s opposition Labor Party, for instance, had its roots in organized labor, and “people don’t join unions anymore,” Mr. Roggeveen said. From a conservative perspective, he said, “if the union is no longer a threat, there’s far less reason for Liberals to win support among that group of people.”

One result of such tectonic changes, Mr. Roggeveen argued, is that major parties become inward-looking and turn to cultural issues to attract voters.

George Megalogenis, an author and political commentator, said that kind of disconnect could help explain Mr. Morrison’s scattershot attempts to woo Wentworth’s wavering Liberal voters in the weeks before the election.

Mr. Morrison was “throwing haymakers, hoping something will connect,” Mr. Megalogenis said. “You have to wonder what their instincts are, if they’re in denial about the socioeconomic makeup of the society. You can’t explain it any other way.”

As he tried to persuade Wentworth voters to support David Sharma, the party’s candidate, Mr. Morrison pledged government money to local surf clubs and even said he might consider moving Australia’s embassy in Israel to Jerusalem from Tel Aviv, following President Trump’s lead. That would have broken with decades of policy, and the proposal drew scorn as a transparent bid for votes from Wentworth’s sizable Jewish community.

Source: NYT > World

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