Former Prime Minister Tony Abbott took aim at independent politicians on Monday, claiming he’d rather see the Opposition bag those votes at the upcoming federal election than minor parties or independent candidates.
Speaking to Ray Hadley on his 2GB morning show on Monday, Abbott said that smaller political parties do not offer the potential for “serious government”, suggesting the only credible choices are the Liberal party and Bill Shorten’s Labor.
“If you want a credible parliament, if you want serious government, don’t vote independent,” the member for Warringah told Hadley. “Better to vote for the Labor party than to vote for an independent. For all Labor’s faults, at least they are a party of government or potential government, and that means there is a level of responsibility which the Labor party has to take which no independent or minor party does.”
The topic was raised following a discussion about Clive Palmer, who Abbott described as “absolutely shameless” due to the money he is splashing out on his election campaign, while refusing to pay workers who got “dudded” when his Queensland Nickel refinery collapsed and the taxpayers who had to fund their redundancy payments.
Abbott’s comments come after an increase in the number of independent politicians in parliament, including Julia Banks and Dr Kerryn Phelps who claimed Malcolm Turnbull’s former seat of Wentworth in the Lower House last year, and the likes of Fraser Anning, Pauline Hanson and Derryn Hinch in the Senate.
Not everyone agrees with Abbott though, as Starts at 60 readers recently voiced concerns about the two major parties, with many vowing to support alternative parties or independent candidates when the polls open in May.
We asked our community to cast their vote in an online poll, with the majority of respondents (63.5 per cent) admitting they had lost faith in the major parties, vowing to place their vote outside of the two major parties on election day instead, with just 36.5 per cent intending to vote Labor or Liberal.
“Minor parties have an important role in representing those who do not want to vote for the major parties,” reader Valerie Bush said.
“They are are now a big part of the checks and balances and dialogues that are part of our democracy. Minor parties are a force for renewal. They can bring up issues that the major parties wouldn’t normally touch for fear of losing votes in their electorate. Like it or not minor parties are here to stay.”
Kerry Charrett said: “I have lost faith in both parties and will continue voting Green. They hold all the same values that I do. Honesty, decency and care of the environment.”
While Sonia Peterson added: “I have definitely lost faith in the major parties and will be voting for the independents.”
However, others voiced similar opinions to the former PM, including Joan Rowe who said: “Like it or not we have a two-party preferred system. Any of the other parties are not big enough or prepared enough to take Govt [sic]. Most of them are formed to try to keep a check on the Governing party.”
Jan Coleman added: “Will definitely not be voting for Anning, Hanson, Palmer or any other pretend politician.”