Malcolm Turnbull has no mandate

July 15, 2016
Jeannie Rae, National Tertiary Education Union national president

Malcolm Turnbull, who has just scraped over the line to claim government, claims he has a mandate to implement all of his unpopular polices. Green Left Weekly asked several community leaders their opinion.

Jeannie Rae, National Tertiary Education Union national president

First, even in liberal, democratic terms Malcolm Turnbull is on thin ice considering he just slipped in.

More importantly, if a policy is wrong whether or not the party that won the election claims they have a mandate to implement it doesn't make it right!

It is up to us to continue to campaign on the issues and gather support for policies which make us a fair and decent society.

Susan Price, Socialist Alliance national co-convenor

This August will mark 15 years since the Tampa crisis, when 438 refugees had to be rescued from drowning by Norwegian freighter MV Tampa, only to be betrayed by the Australian government under Prime Minister John Howard.

Then, many of us in the refugee rights movement thought the government had reached its lowest point. We were wrong.

In the following 15 years, the Coalition and ALP have sunk even lower in their cruelty towards refugees. The spectre of racism is haunting the federal parliament: it has been a feature since this country's colonial invasion.

However, attitudes have shifted somewhat with the #LetThemStay movement. Vote Compass polling recently found that 52% of Australian voters want Australia to increase its refugee intake and pro-refugee opinions are even stronger among young people.

A growing number — around 25% — are rejecting the two major parties which means neither can claim a mandate to continue the illegal detention and torture of refugees.

With One Nation back in the Senate, the refugee right movement has to work even harder to organise and mobilise against the politics of fear and scapegoating.

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