Carol Johnson writes in The Conversation (4.11.19) that, while authoritarian populism has been around for a while, the Morrison government’s determination to punish certain groups makes the label more apt than just “conservative”.
‘In a recent interview Malcolm Turnbull raised the possibility that these days many so-called “conservatives” in the Liberal Party might be better described as “authoritarian populists”.
‘It would be easy to dismiss his comments as being those of a bitter former leader. But maybe Turnbull has a point, and perhaps it might even be applied more broadly to the Morrison government.
‘Although the term “authoritarian populism” is often associated with far-right parties, it has also been used to describe mainstream governments, such as those of Margaret Thatcher (1979-1990).
‘Thatcherite populist rhetoric mobilised the people against big government and elite special interests, which was combined with authoritarian measures such as increased policing of ethnic minorities and militant unions.
‘Authoritarian populist is a term now sometimes applied to Donald Trump. So it is well worth asking whether the Morrison government also has some authoritarian populist tendencies.
‘This is particularly the case given Morrison’s recent embrace of a Trump-influenced anti-globalist rhetoric, which seems partly aimed at asserting Australian independence from international human rights frameworks.’