Pale, male, stale: The problem with the Liberal Party

If the Liberal Party wants to connect with Australians, it needs to be less blokey, less white, more youthful and more diverse

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The recent decision to say No to the Voice referendum is yet another sign of why the Liberal Party may struggle longer in the wilderness. It was disappointing to see this appear on the day when Donald Trump was arraigned in New York, and when Trump’s doomsday speech further divided an already divided America. Peter Dutton’s stance against the Voice referendum here in Australia highlights his party’s willingness to sacrifice those most marginalised in our society to petty politics.

With their win in the NSW elections, the Labor Party is now in charge of all of Australia, but for Tasmania. The most senior Liberal leader in the land is now the Premier of Tasmania. On the mainland, it’s wall-to-wall Labor.

It is time for the Liberal Party to rebuild its brand.

‘Brand building’ is simply connecting with your intended audience for the purpose of establishing a relationship with them in their day-to-day lives.

The question that needs to be asked is, do the Liberals have a positive relationship with everyday Australians?

Let us look at this from the lens of the changing face of Australia.

The recent 2021 Census told us that we are the most multicultural nation in the world, with one in two Australians either born overseas or have parents who were born overseas.

We also have a young community which is increasingly connected with the rest of the world and are more socially and environmentally responsible. These young people also have a high setting on their bullcrap meter and can smell insincerity a mile off.

We also have to recognise the increasing participation of women in all parts of our lives as compared to 20-30 years ago.

If the Liberals need to build their brand and connect with Australians, they need to be less blokey, less white, more youthful, and start believing that minorities and women matter.

Liberal Party rebranding
(Source: Twitter)

Labor realised this way back in the early 2000s and has spent the last 20 years building a brand which is more accepting of everyday Australians. Interestingly, it has been true to its affiliations with the Union movement but modern Labor has been able to embrace the new voter also.

The teal brand emerged and flourished at the last Federal elections. Made up largely of those Liberals who did not relate to the leadership, this group of mostly women were able to capture the imagination of their largely affluent electorates, and with this, the votes of traditional Liberal voters disappointed with their party’s policies but unwilling to vote for the Labor Party. The first battle which the Liberals now need to fight, is to entice these voters back. The NSW Liberals were able to keep the teals in check at the recent state elections – head office has a playbook to work from.

Electoral defeats are important as they force the losing party to take a cold hard look at themselves, and this has to be the time for seniors in the Liberal Party to do that – though one fears it may take up to even a decade to bring about any change. Still, you start by taking the first steps.

It is almost a year since the Liberals were smashed in the Federal elections of 2022 and yet, there seem to be no discernible moves by them to make any changes to their branding. Leadership now is of the essence, even a sacrificing one – any leader who brings about change may not last the distance till the next couple of elections when they may have a chance of winning.

The next Tasmanian elections take place on 28 June 2025. It will be interesting to see if the Liberals take any steps by then to rebrand and hold on to their last patch of blue in Australia.

READ ALSO: Chris Minns: We have a team that looks like the community we hope to represent

Pawan Luthra
Pawan Luthra
Pawan is the publisher of Indian Link and is one of Indian Link's founders. He writes the Editorial section.

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