Scott Morrison’s defeat ends nine years of Tory rule over the huge country-continent. The Australian Prime Minister admitted his defeat in the legislative elections on Saturday, May 21, the results of which reflected voter rejection linked to his inaction against climate change.
According to projections published by the ABC channel after counting half of the votes, the Labor Party of Anthony Albanese wins the largest number of deputies in the House of Representatives. But with only 72 seats secured so far, he was not yet certain of winning the absolute majority of 76 deputies necessary to form a government without having to find an ally.
Scott Morrison nevertheless said in acknowledgment of defeat:
Tonight I spoke to the Leader of the Opposition and the new Prime Minister, Anthony Albanese, and congratulated him on his election victory. (…) In this country, at a time like this, when we look at the whole world, and especially when we see those who are fighting in Ukraine for their freedom, I think that on a night like tonight, we can reflect on the greatness of our democracy.
The “small” pro-environment candidates acclaimed
Some 17.2 million voters were called upon to choose the 151 elected to the House of Representatives for a three-year term. Forty of the 76 Senate seats were also renewed for six years.
After three years marked by major natural disasters and the pandemic, Australians have voted in an unusual number of “small” pro-environment candidates who could hold the keys to power.
The Green Party and independent candidates nicknamed “teals” – mostly highly qualified women advocating for environmental protection, gender equality and anti-corruption – were on the way to conquer a series of urban constituencies traditionally acquired by the Conservatives.
Green Party leader Adam Bandt said:
People have said that the climate crisis is something they want to take action on. We just had three years of drought, then fires and now floods and more floods. People can see it, it’s happening, it’s getting worse.
The electoral campaign focused on the personalities of MM. Morrison and Albanese, the candidates of the traditional parties, relegating political ideas to the background.
Anger over pro-coal policies
But young Australians are increasingly angry about the government’s pro-coal policies, difficulties in finding accommodation and the misuse of public money.
“I grew up in a community that has been very badly affected by fires and floods over the past five years,” Jordan Neville, who was voting for the first time, said at a Melbourne polling station. “If anything could be done to prevent this from happening again, that would be amazing. »
Mr Morrison has resisted calls to cut Australia’s carbon emissions faster by 2030, and wholeheartedly supports the coal industry, one of the driving forces of the country’s economy.
Lagging behind in the polls for a year, he took advantage of the economic recovery and an unemployment rate currently at its lowest in forty-eight years. He portrayed his Labor rival as a “free spirit” unfit to lead the economy. But he suffered from low personal popularity and accusations of dishonesty.
On Saturday, Mr Albanese meanwhile asked voters to give his centre-left party “a chance” to lead the country, and urged them to reject a “dividing” prime minister. The Labor leader – who himself has been described as bland and uninspiring – focused in the final days of the campaign on Mr Morrison’s alleged failings. Australians “want someone who is fair, someone who will admit their mistakes”, he pleaded.
He pledged to end Australia’s backlog in tackling climate change, help people facing soaring prices and strengthen indigenous peoples’ participation in shaping national policy .
He may now have to strike deals with candidates demanding tougher climate action to govern, risking the ire of pro-coal and mining union factions in his party.