Acting Prime Minister, Warren Truss seems to be a little miffed with people voting for Palmer United, but doesn’t seem all that fussed with other minor parties.
Speaking about the future for PUP, he claimed that it, like others before it would ultimately fail. This is a reasonable assumption given the fate of Pauline Hanson and the Australian Democrats.
At this point though, Truss loses the plot with his claim that voters have ‘an obligation to democracy’ to vote for the three majors (although he only mentions the LNP):
… He said yesterday those who voted for him [Clive Palmer] in protest were ignoring their obligations to democracy and putting their country at risk.
Mr Truss, Acting Prime Minister while Tony Abbott is overseas, said the Coalition took its responsibilities seriously and would get on with the job of delivering what was important for Australia. He said other parties could worry about themselves.
Asked if Mr Palmer's Palmer United Party was just a “flash in the pan”, he said there had always been independent parties.
“We have had plenty of saviours in the past, like Pauline Hanson and Bob Katter. They all made a little bit of an impact for a while,” he told reporters at the NSW Nationals conference in Queanbeyan.
Mr Palmer was a big winner at the 2013 federal election, gaining his own seat and three Senate spots. Ms Hanson roared on to the Australian political landscape in 1996 but was only in federal parliament for a single term.
Despite big predictions, the vote for the Katter's Australian Party of Mr Katter, a longtime Queensland-based MP, was disappointing at the last election, and Mr Katter's personal vote slumped.
Mr Truss said there was always a protest vote. “Sometimes these people will gain support from that element,” he said. “Those who throw away their vote in some kind of protest are in fact ignoring their obligations to their democracy but also putting their country at risk.”
It is a curious claim that voters have an obligation to democracy that requires them to support their established ruling class. It is downright bizarre to then go on to claim that failure to do so puts the country at risk. Of what???
The risk is not to the nation but to the governing triumvirate. Wazza, like so many other politicians, tends to confuse his own party’s interest with the national interest.
Truss’s problem will not end with the demise of PUP; the vote for Clive is only the symptom of a much bigger issue for the LNP and other majors. The real problem is that around a quarter of the electorate has had a gutful of the dithering, spendthrift major parties and want someone else to do the job.
Palmer is offering little other than another populist party competing for the ground already covered by the Liberal/ Labor/Greens cartel, but as a policy free zone. His only appeal to the electorate is that he is not LNP, Labor, or Greens.