Federal Politics

Shorten’s leadership now terminal

Opposition leader Bill Shorten. Image Source: Edited version of an image created by Orderinchaos [CC-BY-SA 3.0]

Ever since the Labor Party’s election of Bill Shorten as federal leader, there have been rumblings about whether the party made the right call. Analysis of Newspolls commissioned by The Australian newspaper shows that the party made the wrong call and that Shorten’s leadership is now terminal.

The Australian’s analysis found that since Tony Abbott’s demise in September, Labor’s primary vote in Victoria has plummeted from 41 percent to 33 percent. That’s a frightening figure for a leader who comes from Victoria which tends to prefer Labor to the coalition.

According to The Australian, Labor’s primary vote is now below 40 percent in every state. Satisfaction with his job as opposition leader is also well down on that of Turnbull’s by around 40 points in each state.To be in such a perilous state heading into an election year is going to be problematic for Labor. There is no way Shorten can recover from the position he is in, making it likely that Turnbull will go to an election sooner rather than later. This would give Turnbull clear air to implement his government’s agenda.Any change in the leader of the Labor Party would take at least a month to effect. Sixty percent of caucus would have to vote to change leader, with a nomination process and ballot to follow. The ballot includes members of the party which has an equal weighting with the caucus’ vote. Given the likelihood of an election early in the year, it’s unlikely that the party would risk a change of leader this late in the electoral cycle.