Uncertainty and dysfunction are the new normal in Australian politics after voters seemed underwhelmed with the vision offered by the two major parties.
Our nation is suffering from six years of instability in large part because both sides of politics have treated the highest office in the land like a game of thrones.
While it is impossible to know if former Prime Minister Tony Abbott would have led the Coalition to victory, what is clear is that the knifing of sitting prime ministers not worked out well for either side of politics.
Yesterday was the Liberals’ turn to face this reality.
Voter disillusionment with the major parties is at an all-time high and this is reflected in Pauline Hanson’s return and the rise of the Nick Xenophon team.
Others like Jacqui Lambie, Family First’s Bob Day, the Liberal Democratic Party’s David Leyonhjelm and Victoria’s “human headline” Derryn Hinch are likely to make up an expanded Senate cross bench.
And in a first for Fred Nile’s Christian Democratic Party, his candidate Nella Hall is on track to take a Senate seat representing New South Wales.
If elected, this will be a big breakthrough for the CDP which has long-held two seats in the NSW Parliament’s Legislative Council.
Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull’s campaign plea for stability was ignored as voters spurned the major parties in record numbers.
Are we seeing an Australian-style Trump/Brexit phenomenon? Whatever the case, political and media elites need to stop dismissing the concerns of ordinary people by calling them xenophobes or homophobes.
The other big loser from yesterday was the relentless push to redefine marriage.
This was the second time in a row a Labor leader took a pledge to a general election to legislate same-sex marriage within 100 days.
For an issue that is a low order one for voters, it had incredible prominence again in this campaign.
While same-sex marriage may have helped sand bag some inner city seats where Labor is under threat from the Greens, the issue does not resonate with the mainstream Australia where government is won and lost.
With the Turnbull Government likely to scrape back in, even its agenda for a quick pre-Christmas marriage plebiscite now looks shaky.
The likely slow-down is good because most Australians are yet to hear anything of the substantial case for preserving the definition of marriage.
The Senate will be a menagerie of vested and competing interests, making governing difficult and slow.
The longer it takes to form a government, parliament is recalled, consultations are held and the Australian Electoral Commission is engaged the more likely a 2017 plebiscite looks.
But all this presumes the new-look Senate passes the plebiscite enabling legislation. If it doesn’t, changing the definition of marriage will remain stalled.
That Labor is unlikely to form government means Opposition Leader Bill
Shorten’s promise to continue taxpayer funding of the radical “Safe Schools” program is dead – another important outcome of the election.
The Coalition will cease funding “Safe Schools” when the money runs out next year.
While there is no excuse for bullying, “Safe Schools” has more to do with teaching children as young as four that their gender is fluid.
Volunteers coordinated by ACL and other like-minded groups letterboxed one million flyers highlighting the consequences of redefining marriage and “Safe Schools”.
The enthusiasm of so many people augurs well for raising the army needed to contest the plebiscite. Thanks for your work.
The ACL Team ran 34 Meet Your Candidate Forums during the campaign attended by 3044 people. It was great to see so many people come out and participate in democracy like this.
Candidates need to see the whites of the eyes of voters and to hear their concerns first hand. I don’t know of any other grass roots community group that would have mobilised so many people in this way.
“Safe Schools” was the hottest topic at our forums and surprisingly many Labor candidates tried to deny the extreme nature of the material which could be easily verified through Google.
Labor took the intolerant political agenda of the gay lobby to this election in its national platform. Had Labor won, laws guaranteeing freedom of religion for churches, mosques, religious schools and charities would have been reviewed.
The challenge of the months ahead will be to win the marriage plebiscite and then to coax Labor back to the centre on social policy.
These are the two big opportunities Christians have been given as a result of this closest of elections.
How we respond to both will determine the character of our nation for generations.
The days ahead are uncertain. Let’s be praying for those who govern us at this time. But let’s also be preparing for action. Our work is only just beginning.