The current state of Australian politics is reminiscent of the 1980s, when it was common to see politicians calling on voters to “go home” and vote for “the lesser of two evils” to “fix” things.
That sentiment has not changed: the Coalition has been in power for almost two years and has managed to win a minority government by a large margin, even though the opposition Labor Party has gained significant ground in recent polls.
But the change in political tone in recent months has seen a change in the way people vote.
As political commentator Andrew Bolt points out, voters in a recent Newspoll found that they preferred Labor by a margin of four to one, with “movies” (those who have switched to vote Labor) a smaller percentage of the electorate.
A similar phenomenon occurred in 2016, when Malcolm Turnbull was prime minister.
“When Malcolm Turnbull’s Labor party was in government, a significant percentage of Australians voted Labor,” says Bolt.
“People are now voting with a lot more confidence in the Labor Party.”
One way the Labor party has done well in recent weeks is with a focus on economic policy, particularly on “jobs, growth and jobs for Australians”.
One of the issues that is being highlighted in the latest Newspoll, the Government’s plans to introduce a “jobs tax”, is a policy that would apply to the cost of goods and services that Australians purchase.
In this sense, the issue is not about job creation, but about the extent to which we will pay for the welfare system.
This is a very different position from when the ALP was in power, where the issue was a tax on income and wealth.
“There is a great deal of confusion about what a ‘jobs tax’ is,” says the ABC’s Julia Edwards.
“It’s not an income tax.
It’s a payroll tax, it’s a business tax, but it’s not a tax.”
In the past, many have argued that the Labor government’s “jobs and growth” policies are the result of the coalition’s “fiscal cliff” spending cuts, but there is still no consensus on what the terms of this debate actually are.
One of those who believes that the Coalition is just pretending is former treasurer Joe Hockey, who has been widely criticised for the way he has tried to present his “jobs plan”.
Hockey is also facing calls to apologise for his comments about the Coalition’s tax and spend policies.
One such issue is that Hockey said that he believed that Australia’s “job creators” should have the same tax and spending obligations as the rest of us.
That may be an old view, but the point is that in an economy where people are increasingly reliant on the “job creator” to create jobs, it is difficult to argue with the conclusion that the country is heading towards a “meltdown”.
That would mean that the Australian economy is heading for an even deeper recession.
But this is where “maviedom” comes into play.
When people vote Labor, they are not actually choosing between two parties, but rather two policies: “jobs” and “growth”.
And in many ways, it has come to define how Australians vote.
It has also given rise to a new way of viewing politics.
“I think there is a general sense that politics has moved into a new era,” says Edwards.
This has been driven by a number of factors, not the least of which is the increasing popularity of social media and social media platforms such as Facebook and Instagram.
These new tools have allowed people to share stories, connect with others and share ideas.
And they have also led to more people feeling comfortable sharing personal information, which is something that is very different to the traditional media landscape.
And it has led to a more active media landscape, with news outlets increasingly focusing on what is happening on social media rather than what is actually happening on the ground.
“We have seen a rise in the amount of content we consume on Facebook and Twitter,” says Abbott.
“And we have seen an increase in the number of people who use the platforms to engage in partisan politics.”
The rise of Facebook and the internet The rise in social media has also allowed the Liberal Party to gain a significant amount of ground on Labor in the past year.
“Facebook and Twitter have allowed the party to gain some ground,” says Evans.
“That has led people to feel more engaged with the politics of their local area.”
But while this has made some voters feel more connected, it also has led some to see a return to old political norms.
“If you look at the Labor side of the election campaign, there was a lot of focus on the jobs issue, with a number coming from the party’s local office, which had a big focus on jobs and growth,” says Andrews.
“The party also had a very strong focus on social issues.
The Labor party, as you know, has a long history of supporting issues like marriage equality, which have become increasingly important to voters in recent years.”