June 1, 2019

Editor’s Note

Editor’s Note June 2019

By Nick Feik

“Beneath the headlines of Morrison the Messiah, Labor’s complacent Victoria-centric campaign and the failure of the opinion polls, both public and party, to pick the result, is a nation permanently divided,” writes George Megalogenis.

The election result was a shock to many, but as Megalogenis points out in The Monthly’s June issue, it shouldn’t have been.

“We have seen this election twice before this decade: the hung parliament of 2010 and the Turnbull government’s one-seat majority in 2016. The same faultlines between young and old, and between the cities and the regions, were exposed each time.” 

There were differences of course, not least in people’s expectations, and post-election analyses across the media have come up with the usual range of explanations for “why we got it wrong”. Many are still getting it wrong: the Coalition boosters who take the result as a resounding win for climate change denialism, for instance. They are ignoring the fact that more Australians swung against such denialism.

The lessons to be learnt are becoming clearer, and the mea culpas that should accompany the post-election analyses of virtually every political journalist and commentator in the country are necessary. Not as empty gestures: they are requisite ingredients of an engaged and frank response to the realisation (how many times do we need the reminder?) that no one can read the intentions of people in every corner of Australia at any particular moment. That’s what elections are for. 

In the meantime, we can ignore the triumphalists and the purveyors of I-told-you-so – they are the only ones not learning from the result. For the rest of us, as Richard Denniss writes in our cover essay, “The stakes are too high to simply look away.”

Nick Feik

Nick Feik is the editor of The Monthly.

@nickfeik

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