Australia ousts conservatives after 9 years, Anthony Albanese sworn in as new prime minister


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  1. #1
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    Australia ousts conservatives after 9 years, Anthony Albanese sworn in as new prime minister

    Brisbane, Australia (CNN)Votes are being counted in Australia to determine who will lead the country in an election that could see the center-right government lose its mandate after nine years.

    Scott Morrison is asking voters to give him a second term in office as Prime Minister after three years dominated by the pandemic, climate disasters, and accusations of dishonesty.

    Morrison's popularity has waned since he defied polls to clinch a "miracle" win over Labor in 2019, and this election is seen as a referendum on his self-confessed "bulldozer" leadership style.

    Morrison's main rival is Anthony Albanese, a Labor Party veteran who inherited the party leadership after his shell-shocked predecessor stepped down following the 2019 election loss.

    This time Labor has stripped back its policy offerings to narrow the difference between it and the ruling Liberal-National coalition, though all three are facing an unprecedented challenge from "teal" Independents, who are campaigning for more climate action and political integrity.

    The major parties need at least 76 seats to govern outright -- any less and they'll have to negotiate with smaller parties and Independents to secure enough support to form a minority government.

    Two hours after the close of polls on the east coast, no clear winner had emerged -- if it's a hung parliament, the future leadership of Australia could take days or even weeks to resolve.

    The big issues

    After leading the polls for weeks, the odds narrowed for a Labor win in the final days before the vote, though public surveys are being approached with caution after the 2019 upset. Then, even bookmakers were caught off guard with SportsBet reportedly losing more than $5 million after paying out a Labor win two days early.

    Australian elections are typically a two-horse race between the Liberal-National coalition and the Labor Party -- and while their policies seem similar, they are some important distinctions.

    The most globally significant is their stance on the climate crisis.

    The Morrison government has been called a climate "holdout" by the United Nations Secretary-General after outlining a plan to get to net zero by 2050 by creating massive new gas projects. The government says it backs a transition from coal to renewable energy, but has no plans to stop new coal projects.

    Labor says it will cut emissions by 43% by 2030 -- higher than the coalition's target of 26-28%, but less than climate scientists say is needed to keep global temperature rise within 1.5 degrees Celsius, as agreed under the Paris Accord. Climate-focused Independents want emission cuts closer to 60% by 2030 and to disrupt cozy relations between government and the mining industry.

    Not much separates the major parties on foreign policy, though Labor says it will rebuild relationships it accuses the coalition of damaging during its term. That includes the French, who Morrison angered by canceling a $90 billion submarine deal in favor of the AUKUS security pact with the United States and the United Kingom. Both the coalition and Labor have vowed to be tough on China, which signed a security deal with the Solomon Islands during the election campaign, leading to claims Canberra had dropped the ball in the Pacific.

    Other issues dominating the election include housing affordability, inflation and the cost of living, which aren't unique to Australia. Morrison says only the coalition can be trusted to manage an economy bruised by the pandemic amid predictions that rising interest rates could inflict more financial pain on over-extended home owners. Meanwhile Labor says it's the only party who'll stick up for workers whose wages have stagnated even as inflation rises to a 20-year high.

    Why Morrison could go

    Morrison stumbled just a few months into his leadership when he made the politically disastrous decision to go on holiday to Hawaii as bushfires tore through the country. He cut his holiday short after two volunteer firefighters died but justified his absence to a radio interviewer with a phrase that has become shorthand for buck-passing: "I don't hold a hose, mate."

    Months later, when the first case of Covid was found in Australia, Morrison was quick to act. He shut the nation's borders for two years but was criticized for failing to quickly roll out vaccinations, which critics allege allowed local outbreaks to take hold, forcing major cities to lock down for months. To date, just over 8,000 people have died in Australia from Covid, and around 50,000 new cases are being reported each day.

    The Prime Minister has also been attacked for his lack of empathy when dealing with a Liberal staffer who alleged she was raped in parliament, prompting a mass rally in 2021 by Australian women who called on the government to do better. During the pandemic, women's groups criticized the government's readiness to rebuild "hard-hat" industries dominated by men, while neglecting sectors that largely employ women -- hospitality, the arts -- that suffered from extended shutdowns.

    Insults have been hurled throughout the election campaign, with Morrison labeling Albanese a "loose unit" after the Labor leader said he'd "absolutely" support a wage rise to keep up with inflation. Morrison turned the mirror back on himself when he admitted during a news conference he could a bit of a "bulldozer" -- then vowed he would change. The election result may reveal whether voters believe him.

    The big unknown in this election is whether voters will turn their backs on the major parties to vote for smaller parties or Independents. Most of the teal Independents are highly educated women who have turned to politics are becoming frustrated with the "boy's club" of Canberra politics.

    Hanabeth Luke nominated as an independent in the electorate of Page in northern New South Wales after hearing Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce say the government couldn't cut greenhouse emissions because it would hurt farmers.

    "I was enraged," said Luke, a scientist who teaches climate resilience at Southern Cross University. At the time she was marking students' assignments about their lived experience of climate change. "Students had me in tears. We're talking about crops dying in the fields, and then fires burning the crops, and then a flood washing the fields away," she said.

    "The rage that I felt then led me to go, 'right there's an election coming up. We can't allow this government another three years to allow our children's future to burn.'"

    Polling on the Independents is mixed, but Zareh Ghazarian, politics lecturer at Monash University, says some could cause "real damage" to the Liberal Party.

    One of the most influential battles is taking place in the Victorian seat of Kooyong, where Monique Ryan, a children's pediatric neurologist and political newcomer, is seeking to displace Liberal treasurer Josh Frydenberg, who's considered a future Liberal Party leader.

    "If (Independents) were to win their seats, not only does it make the job for the Liberal Party harder to maintain government, but it will also deprive them of potential leadership options in the future," Ghazarian said. "So it's a big stakes issue for the coalition."

    https://edition.cnn.com/2022/05/20/a...hnk/index.html
    Last edited by MenInG; 21st May 2022 at 16:56.


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  2. #2
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    Australia's Labor Party is poised to return to power for the first time since 2007, after Scott Morrison conceded defeat ending almost a decade of conservative rule.

    Opposition leader Anthony Albanese is set to become prime minister although he currently remains just shy of the 76 seats needed to form a government.

    As such he may have to rely on the support of smaller independent parties, including the Greens or so-called "teal independents", who campaigned on policies of integrity, equality and tackling climate change.

    Final results could take some time as counting of a record number of postal votes is completed.

    As Labor focused on spiking inflation and sluggish wage growth, Mr Morrison made the country's lowest unemployment in almost half a century the centrepiece of his campaign's final hours.

    Conceding defeat in Sydney, he said: "Tonight I have spoken to the leader of the opposition and the incoming prime minister, Anthony Albanese, and I've congratulated him on his election victory this evening."

    Morrison also said he would stand down as leader of the Liberal party.

    The capitulation ends eight years and nine months in power for his conservative coalition.

    Mr Morrison became prime minister in 2018 after several leadership changes.

    Partial results showed Mr Morrison's Liberal-National coalition was punished by voters in affluent urban seats and Western Australia in particular.

    Treasurer Josh Frydenberg conceded it would be "difficult" for him to hold the long-held Liberal seat of Kooyong in
    Melbourne to an independent newcomer in one of the biggest hits to the government.

    SKY


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  4. #4
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    Australia's Labor Party leader Anthony Albanese has said he wants to unite the country after leading the opposition to power for the first time since 2007.

    He made his comments after Scott Morrison conceded defeat in the election, ending almost a decade of conservative rule.


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  5. #5
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    Australia's Labour Party was set to end almost a decade of conservative rule as the government was swept away in Saturday's election by a wave of support for candidates who campaigned for more action on climate change and may hold the balance of power.

    Partial results showed that while Labour had made small gains, Prime Minister Scott Morrison's Liberal-National coalition had been punished by voters in Western Australia and affluent urban seats in particular.

    The Greens and a group of so-called "teal independents", who campaigned on policies of gender equality and tackling climate change, put on a strong showing, tapping voter anger over inaction on the environment after some of the worst floods and fires to hit Australia.

    "Tonight, I have spoken to the leader of the opposition and the incoming prime minister, Anthony Albanese. And I've congratulated him on his election victory this evening," said Morrison.

    Albanese, speaking as he headed to his party celebrations, said he wanted to unite the country and "end the climate wars".

    "I think people want to come together, look for our common interest, look towards that sense of common purpose. I think people have had enough of division, what they want is to come together as a nation and I intend to lead that."

    Albanese said he aimed to be sworn in swiftly so he could attend a meeting of the Quad security grouping in Tokyo on Tuesday. He promised constitutional recognition and parliamentary representation for Indigenous Aboriginals, as well as the establishment of an anti-corruption commission.

    Minority government possible

    In results so far, Labour had yet to reach 76 of the 151 lower house seats required to form a government alone. Final results could take time as counting of a record number of postal votes is completed.

    With 60 per cent of the vote counted, Labour had 72 seats and Morrison's coalition 55. Independents and the Greens held 11, the Australian Broadcasting Corp projected. A further 13 seats remained in doubt.

    The centre-left Labor had held a decent lead in opinion polls before the election, although surveys showed the Liberal-National government narrowing the gap in the final stretch of a six-week campaign.

    Turning teal
    In one of the biggest hits to the government, Treasurer Josh Frydenberg said it would be "difficult" for him to hold the long-held Liberal seat of Kooyong in Melbourne against an independent newcomer.

    Three volunteers working for teal independent Monique Ryan, who was challenging Frydenberg, said they joined Ryan's campaign because they were concerned about the climate for the sake of their children and grandchildren.

    "For me, it's like this election actually feels hopeful," Charlotte Forwood, with three adult children, told Reuters.

    With Morrison stepping down as party leader and Frydenberg likely to lose his seat, Defence Minister Peter Dutton — a former policeman from Queensland — was shaping up as favourite to lead the Liberals.

    Early returns suggested the Greens had made ground, looking to pick up to three seats in Queensland.

    Greens leader Adam Bandt, who retained his inner-city Melbourne seat, said climate was a major issue for voters.

    "There was an attempt from Labour and Liberal to bury it, and we were very clear about the need to tackle climate by tackling coal and gas."

    Morrison and Albanese earlier cast their votes in Sydney after making whistle-stop tours across marginal seats in the final two days of a campaign dominated by rising living costs, climate change and integrity.

    As Labour focused on spiking inflation and sluggish wage growth, Morrison, a strong supporter of Australia's coal industry, made the country's lowest unemployment in almost half a century the centrepiece of his campaign's final hours.

    UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson offered Albanese his congratulations.

    "Our countries have a long history and a bright future together. As thriving, like-minded democracies we work every day to make the world a better, safer, greener and more prosperous place."

    Dawn


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  7. #7
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    Australia's newly-elected leader may have to be sworn in as acting prime minister to attend a summit with US President Joe Biden, with votes still being counted in the country's poll.

    It is still unclear whether Anthony Albanese's Labor Party will be able to form a majority government or have to rely on the support of smaller parties and independents, who picked up seats.


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  8. #8
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    I have never been to Australia and I don't follow Australian politics closely. But I remember watching a few years ago a series called The Killing Season, which was an ABC documentary about the Rudd-Gillard years (the last time Labor held power). I found it a gripping series and also quite revealing on how brutal Australian politics can be.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by MenInG View Post
    Australia's newly-elected leader may have to be sworn in as acting prime minister to attend a summit with US President Joe Biden, with votes still being counted in the country's poll.

    It is still unclear whether Anthony Albanese's Labor Party will be able to form a majority government or have to rely on the support of smaller parties and independents, who picked up seats.
    He has been sworn in as PM this AM!

  10. #10
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    What has happened is actually fascinating.

    Australia has two major parties. Labor is a centre-left party, while the Liberal Party is centre-right.

    The voting system makes it impossible for non-centrist parties to win.

    Rupert Murdoch and his even more right-wing son Lachlan have been trying for some time to move the Liberal Party to the right. Sky News Australia is a Fox News style propaganda operation, and the nationís only national broadsheet newspaper, The Australian, has also lurched into Trumpy territory.

    Murdoch despised the popular previous Liberal Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, whom he viewed as too independent and too centrist. So he used Sky News Australia as a means of lobbying Liberal MPs to overthrow Turnbull to install far-right Peter Dutton. But that actually led to the less right-wing Scott Morrison defeating Dutton to emerge as Party Leader, and therefore Prime Minister, just over 3 years ago.

    The Liberals have adopted an anti-environment climate change policy at Murdochís insistence as well as engaging in monumental abuse of public funds, which have been redirected to effectively buy votes on marginal seats. Meanwhile they have engaged in dogwhistle politicking about non-issues like school transgender sport to try to buy the votes of the religious right, while completely failing to address sexual harassment by a senior Liberal minister.

    Murdoch imagined that he could move a country which is significantly more conservative than New Zealand further to the right.

    But he has predictably failed. The Liberals lost their power base of university educated professionals, and with it many of their key urban MPs.

    All that they have left in parliament is a right-wing rump, which will elect Dutton as its new leader and lurch further to the right - and away from their traditional voters like myself.

    The Labor Party has done little right - they just had less extreme policies on three issues (environment, corruption and women) and saw the Liberals alienate their own voters.
    Last edited by Junaids; 23rd May 2022 at 08:15.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Salma_T View Post
    He has been sworn in as PM this AM!
    Australia's Labor Party leader Anthony Albanese has been sworn in as the country's 31st prime minister, promising a "journey of change" as he vowed to tackle climate change, rising living costs and inequality.

    The centre-left Labor Party is retaking power after nine years in opposition as a wave of unprecedented support for the Greens and climate-focused independents helped end nearly a decade of rule by the conservative Liberal-National coalition in Saturday's general election.

    While votes are still being counted and the make-up of government has yet to be finalised, Mr Albanese was sworn in so he could attend the Quad leaders summit in Tokyo on Tuesday, with US president Joe Biden, Japanese prime minister Fumio Kishida and Indian prime minister Narendra Modi.

    The Quad summit is aimed at enhancing co-operation among the four member nations of the group and discussing notable developments in the Indo-Pacific region.

    Mr Albanese, 59, was sworn in by governor general David Hurley at a ceremony in Canberra.

    "It's a big day in my life but a big day for the country, when we change the government," Mr Albanese told reporters outside his Sydney home ahead of the ceremony.

    "I want to channel the opportunity that we have to shape change so that we bring people with us on the journey of change. I want to bring the country together."

    Deputy Labor leader Richard Marles and three key ministers - Penny Wong in foreign affairs, Jim Chalmers as treasurer and Katy Gallagher in finance - were also sworn in, with Ms Wong to join Mr Albanese on the Quad trip.

    Mr Albanese also said he spoke to President Biden on Sunday night and was looking forward to meeting him on Tuesday. He will return to Australia on Wednesday.

    "This visit aligns with what the Albanese government sees as the three pillars of Australia's foreign policy: our alliance with the United States, our engagement with the region, and our support for multilateral forums," Mr Albanese said in a statement.

    Labor's election campaign focused on Mr Albanese's working-class credentials and his image as a pragmatic unifier.

    Centre-left Labor still remains four seats short of a majority of 76 in the 151 seat lower house with about a dozen races too close to call, according to television channels.

    Some predicted Labor might get enough seats to govern on their own.

    Official results could be several days away, with the counting of 2.7 million postal votes under way on Sunday.

    SKY


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