On the 21st of May 2022, Australian citizens went to the polls to elect the 47th Parliament in a general election. All of the 151 lower house seats were up for grabs. 40 out of 76 upper house seats were open for the Senate. Voting in Australia is compulsory, and 17,228,900 registered voters (74.4%) of the electorate voted.
In the House of Representatives, the lower house, where the Government must achieve a majority of votes in order to govern, the Australian Labor Party (“ALP”) won 76 seats. The coalition of the Liberal Party and National Party (“LNP”) won 60 seats. The Greens and independents won the remaining seats.
The Socialist Labor Party of Australia, led by Anthony Norman Albanese, born on 2nd March 1963 in Sydney, was sworn in on 23rd May 2022 and is the 31st Prime Minister. He is the first Italian Australian to become prime minister. He is a political progressive and sees global-warming as a major challenge to be addressed.
Inter alia, what distinguishes the 2022 Australian general election? It was the role played by Simon Holmes a Court, the son of the late Michael Robert Hamilton Holmes a Court. Robert died in 1990, aged 53 years. He was born in Johannesburg, South Africa, but raised in Southern Rhodesia (Zimbabwe).
He moved to Perth, Western Australia, where he graduated with a bachelor of laws in 1965. He became a Perth WA solicitor and barrister. He went on to make a fortune in mergers and acquisitions, share trading and mining. He had a talent for spotting good business opportunities, and he became known as “the Great Acquirer”. He was also Australia’s first billionaire; quite an achievement. The fortune Robert made devolved upon his surviving widow and four children. As mentioned, Simon was one of the four children.
Simon Holmes a Court took an active interest in renewable energy and was elected chairman of the community-owned wind farm, Hepburn Wind, in Central Victoria. He has been involved in initiatives to do with climate change; the Climate and Energy College at Melbourne University, the Smart Energy Council and the Australian Environmental Grantmakers Network.
Simon was a member of the Liberal Party in Melbourne. He was also a supporter of MP Josh Frydenberg, the Federal Treasurer and member for Kooyong. Simon supported the Kooyong Climate 200 fundraising initiative.
Unfortunately, Frydenberg was instrumental in having Simon expelled from the Party after he wrote an op-ed in the Guardian Australia supporting the closure of AGL’s coal-fired Liddell power station. As you may imagine, and the author can testify, the recently defeated Liberal Party is thin-skinned when it comes to pre-selections and other suggested corruptions. The relationship between Simon and the Federal Liberal Party quickly went south, and all manner of insults and defamations were traded.
Simon sought to take his revenge on the Liberal Party and on Josh Frydengerg in particular. Being wealthy he financed six candidates, all women and called the ‘Teals’, after the colour. With solid financial backing and professional help, the six Teals stood in the seats researched for them in the recent 2022 general election. They wanted for nothing, and the professionals covered the field of political science. The election took place, and all six candidates won their seats. Unfortunately, Kooyong was one of those seats, and so Australian Treasurer and MP Josh Frydenberg lost his place in parliament.
The One Nation Party led by Pauline Hanson fared badly and Hanson lost her place in the Senate. The other right-wing Party was the United Australia Party financed by billionaire Clive Palmer. The UAP didn’t win a single seat.
The other interesting development is the entry of David Pocock into the political arena. David arrived in Australia with his family as a teenager after they had been forcefully evicted from their farm in Zimbabwe because they were white. He went on to become famous as a gutsy rugby-union flanker and captained the Wallabies. David, with financial support from Simon Holmes a Court, stood for a senate seat in the Australian Capital Territory, and won.
The political platform that the six female Teal candidates and David Pocock campaigned upon was ostensibly : Climate Change, Integrity, and Gender Equality. There are reliable reports that Pocock refused to tie the knot with his fiancé until the Australian government legislated concerning gay marriage and transgender issues.
I have asked myself, why are these two first-generation Australians and the progeny of Southern African conservative values taking on and pushing such intangible, ‘progressive’ philosophies?’ It was then that I reminded myself, my own four Australian-born progeny, all highly qualified professionals, would likely have voted for the Teals and David Pocock.
The fact is the world has changed in so many ways, a new generation dominates the Australian political landscape and is in control of the future. They have learned different lessons in life compared to me and most of my generation. I think they are wrong about a lot of things, but maybe they’re right; I can only hope so.
By Will Keys