Legislation in Australia | Prime Minister Scott Morrison ousted from power

(Sydney) Anthony Albanese’s Labor Party won the general election in Australia on Saturday, ousting Conservative Prime Minister Scott Morrison whose failure to act on climate change has been harshly punished by voters.

Posted at 8:42

Maddison Connaughton
Media Agency France

Mr Albanese, 59, was unsure late Saturday night of securing the absolute majority in the House of Representatives that would allow him to govern without having to find allies.

But assured by the largest number of MPs, he announced his victory by saying that Australians had “voted for change” and hinted he would take office on Monday. He then announced his participation in the Quad Summit (USA, India, Japan, Australia) planned for Tuesday in Tokyo with his future Foreign Minister Penny Wong.

“Tonight I spoke to the leader of the opposition and the new prime minister, Anthony Albanese, and congratulated him on his election victory,” Morrison said.


Photo LOREN ELLIOTT, REUTERS

Scott Morrison delivered his victory speech with his family in Sydney.

According to ABC projections, after more than half the vote was counted, the Labor Party won 72 MPs out of 151, four seats short of an absolute majority.

After three years marred by major natural disasters and the pandemic, Australians have voted in favor of an unusual number of “small” environmental candidates who could hold the keys to power, negotiating their support for Mr Albanese if he fails to achieve one absolute majority.

The Celebrated “Teals”

The Greens and independent candidates nicknamed “Teal” – mostly women campaigners for environmental protection, gender equality and anti-corruption – were poised to win a series of city battles traditionally reserved for the Conservatives.

“People have said they want to do something about the climate crisis,” said Green Party leader Adam Bandt.

“We’ve just had three years of drought, then fires and now floods and more flooding. People can see it, it’s happening, it’s getting worse,” he added.

Mr Morrison’s defeat ends nine years of Tory rule over the vast land continent.

The focus of the election campaign was the personality of MM Morrison and Albanese pushing political ideas to the background.

However, young Australians are increasingly frustrated with the government’s coal policies, difficulties in finding affordable housing and misuse of public funds.

“I grew up in a community that was very badly affected by fires and floods in the last five years,” said first-time voter Jordan Neville at a polling station in Melbourne. “If anything could be done to prevent something like this from happening again, that would be amazing.”

Mr Morrison had resisted calls for faster cuts in CO emissions2 from Australia to 2030 and fully supported the coal industry, one of the driving forces of the country’s economy.

After lagging a year in the polls, he had benefited from the economic recovery and an unemployment rate that is now at its lowest level in 48 years. He had portrayed his Labor rival as a “free spirit” unable to run the economy.

But he suffered from low personal popularity and allegations of dishonesty. He also caused a monumental diplomatic row between Canberra and Paris by breaking a mega-deal for French submarines in Washington’s favor last summer.

“The defeat of the Prime Minister suits me very well,” said former French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian on Saturday. “The acts committed at the time were brutal and cynical, and I would even be tempted to speak of notorious incompetence,” he said.

Anthony Albanese, who is of working class origin and was raised by a single mother in Sydney council flats, will be Australia’s first prime minister not to go by an Anglo-Saxon or Celtic surname.

He pledged to end Australia’s lag in tackling climate change, help people facing soaring prices and increase indigenous people’s participation in national policy-making. He promised to make his country a “superpower” when it comes to renewable energies.

But he may now have to strike deals with candidates calling for tougher climate action to govern, risking the wrath of the pro-coal and pro-mining union factions in his party.

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