Donald Trump’s description of the groundswell of support that swept him to the US Presidency as a “movement,” has prompted some Australian politicians to draw similarities to political sentiment in this country.
While Pauline Hanson popped a champagne cork outside Parliament House as the US election result came through, other Australian politicians joined in noting there was a message for the establishment at home.
Liberal Party backbencher, and former Abbott government minister, Eric Abetz, said there was a message in the US election for all Australian political parties.
“That message is that you have to stay true to your beliefs – especially for the centre-right parties,” Senator Abetz told The New Daily.
“I don’t want to call it a movement, but there is a sentiment I sense that people do want to get back control,” he said. “They identify with the same things the Americans are facing.
“And I get a sense that they will take the fight up here if their elected representatives are not taking notice of them.
“I personally think there is a fairly strong sentiment against political correctness. And the polls are backing that up.”
Mr Abetz said the electorate is informed on the issues “and they are sick of political parties hiding behind non-elected bodies preaching from on high down to the ‘lowly’ people”.
The Senator’s views are shared by other right-wing MPs inside government ranks.
Nationals MP George Christensen has been very vocal since the US election outcome, saying it points to “politics as usual” in decline.
“It shows people want a different style of politics,” he said.
“The movement we’ve seen in the US is bound to infiltrate Australian politics. I think it already has.”
Renegade Liberal backbencher Cory Bernardi tweeted from New York, where he is on secondment to the United Nations: “movement against establishment political parties.”
This led to Labor asking Malcolm Turnbull in Parliament on Thursday if he felt threatened by the remarks of one his backbenchers.
The Prime Minister didn’t bite; the government instead using Question Time to accuse Opposition Leader Bill Shorten of trying to undermine the Australia-US alliance by personally attacking Mr Trump during the election campaign.
In congratulating Mr Trump on his election win, however, Mr Shorten did not shy away from his criticisms of the Republican campaign.
“The abiding friendship between our nations is strong enough for honesty. In fact, true friendship demands nothing less,” the Opposition Leader said.
“It is never acceptable to mock people for their disability. It is never acceptable to ridicule prisoners-of-war for their service.
“When this parliament sees women being disrespected, we have an obligation to speak up.
“When this parliament sees people being discriminated against because of the colour of their skin or their religion, we have an obligation to speak up.”
An extraordinary day in US politics. pic.twitter.com/yHgiUanLz3
— Bill Shorten (@billshortenmp) November 9, 2016
In the Senate, the Greens tried to move a motion against pandering to the US and president-elect Trump.
“If there was ever a time to question our allegiance with the US, that time is now,” Greens leader Richard Di Natale said.
One Nation’s celebration
Meanwhile, Senator Hanson can’t contain her excitement at the Trump ascendancy and sees a lot in it for her One Nation Party in Australia – including even the premiership of Queensland.
“People around the world are saying ‘we’ve had enough of the establishment’. Give people the power back to have their own democracy,” she said.
“I can see in Donald Trump a lot of me and what I stand for in Australia.”
Senator Hanson said she had the policies and a movement behind her for a One Nation member (not her) to lead the state of Queensland.
Political lecturer at Australian National University, Andrew Hughes, said Australia should take note of the US result.
“Donald Trump’s victory demonstrates that style over substance is becoming the new norm in political campaigning,” Dr Hughes said.
“Trust, believability and expectation were big differences between Trump and Clinton. Celebrity endorsement may finally be dead when it comes to political campaigning as voters seek out authentic over manufactured.”