According to every poll, Morrison and Liberal will lose the upcoming federal election. It is not that Albanese will win, he is neither popular nor engaging. Morrison will lose. Why? There are (at least) two ways to answer this question.
Most will look at the specifics of here and now. Morrison will lose because of the rising cost of living, the lack and unaffordability of housing, rising interest rates, lack of progress on climate action etc. In short, this approach focuses on Morrison as a leader, and the poor outcomes that he has produced during his time as PM.
We are used to thinking about leadership this way. If my football team wins the premiership it is because we had a good coach, who made the right choices. Conversely, if my team loses too often, we ought to sack the coach and get a new one. The coach as leader is the reason we win or lose.
There is another way to think about leadership and this election. During Covid, there were four state elections. In each case, the party that was in power, stayed in power. Incumbency (being the current leader) led to re-election.
South Australia was the first state election after Covid, and the incumbent government was voted out. Morrison will be voted out, as will other incumbents. During Covid we want stability. After Covid we want a fresh start, to move on from the past.
Who do you think of as the greatest leader of the 20th Century? Perhaps Winston Churchill. Did you know that during both World Wars he held office, and after both World Wars his party lost the election?
I think Brexit was the same. Many consider Theresa May’s Brexit deal with the EU better than Boris Johnson’s. But she could not get it over the line. In my view she was a better leader, but the timing and context were against her.
My point? Success is about far more than just leadership and right choices. Particularly in changing times, our context shapes events. We need to trust God and be faithful, in this season.
Rev David Rietveld