Alan Jones, one of the Coalition’s highest-profile media backers, says the Turnbull government is failing to learn from its mistakes and could benefit from an electoral thrashing.
“I tell you what. These people just deserve to be smashed in an election to make them wake up,” the conservative 2GB pundit declared on Monday during his show, which reigns supreme in its breakfast timeslot and is syndicated in NSW and Queensland.
The undisputed king of Sydney talkback radio, Jones has long been associated with the Liberals and Nationals but has recently diverged from the Coalition on hot-button issues, in particular over mining in agricultural areas. The conservative broadcaster has increasingly talked up the resurgent One Nation Party.
“There’s a golden rule, whether it’s in sport or politics: people will only repair the house when it’s burnt down. And it seems that these people are waiting for the house to be burnt down,” he told Fairfax Media after his show.
“They don’t understand. They’re being smashed everywhere.”
In NSW, the Liberals suffered strong swings against them in two recent byelections. This followed November’s Orange byelection in which the Nationals lost a previously safe seat to the Shooters, Fishers and Farmers Party.
In Western Australia last month, the Labor Party assumed power and reduced the Liberals to a skeletal presence.
National polling shows a third of people eschewing the major parties, while Opposition Leader Bill Shorten’s Labor is in an election-winning position.
Jones said the government appeared unable to heed valuable feedback from former prime minister Tony Abbott, voters in elections and byelections, property developers (on the issue of housing affordability) and banks that have declined to finance Adani’s Carmichael mine project.
“Everything Abbott says is toxic according to them. I mean he only won 25 seats from the Labor Party at the 2013 election,” Jones said sarcastically.
“They’ve created an expectation about housing which can’t be realised. They should be calling [billionaire developer] Harry Triguboff and others.”
Amid the booming house prices of Sydney and Melbourne, Jones said Mr Triguboff had complained that zoning and urban planning laws were holding back his ambitions to build thousands more dwellings.
“They deserve a smashing because it’s the only way they’ll learn,” he said.
But he emphasised that “of course” he does not want to see a Labor government because of its policies on renewable energy and government spending.
“Although I think [Labor’s] Chris Bowen is making a constructive contribution,” he said, lamenting that Treasurer Scott Morrison apparently refuses to listen to advice.
Mr Abbott said on Monday that there is an expectation among voters that Mr Shorten would become prime minister at the next election.
He repeated calls for the government to curb the Human Rights Commission and water down renewable energy policies.
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