The "Climate Change" Election
No one expected it to happen, yet it happened anyway, the Liberals won another term. Despite what every poll predicted and pundit guessed, the Liberals and their smaller partners, the Nationals secured their position as the leading Australian political coalition once again. Out of the 151 seats in Australia’s parliament the coalition secured 74 compared to Labor’s 66. The Liberals - Australia’s conservative political party - have been in a coalition government with the Nationals for 6 wild and eventful years.
“The Labor Party looks as if it may have lost the unlosable election.” - Former senator, Sam Dastyari.
Asia Times, Opposition and Labor leader, Bill Shorten.
Many suspected that the coalition's many tempestuous terms would come to an end with Labor claiming a secure and palpable victory. Prime Minister Scott Morrison was to have an extremely short tenure, having only been installed in office in the August of 2018 due to the ousting of the more moderate Malcolm Turnbull who lost his position as Prime Minister after attempting to revive a Carbon Tax bill last year. Many Australians voters have become aggravated by the tumultuous volatility of the coalition’s rule, for since 2007 no prime minister has finished a whole term in office. Besides the apparent inability of coalition ministers to stay in office, their policy towards the Australian voter’s number one concern - climate change is inadequate to many.
Polls taken before the election predicted a 54% chance of the Labor Party winning enough seats to form a majority government, the highest chance they’ve had in years. Nevertheless, these were supposed to be the “climate change” elections. Knowing that Australia is one of the world's leading polluters and that any change in the world's climate would disproportionately affect the either arid or flooded nation, voters were supposed to have swamped the polls in favor of Labor and its leader, Bill Shorten. Labor had sworn to reduce emissions by 45% by 2030 while the Liberals had said they would try to reduce emissions by 26%. Despite the Liberals objections to such a radical decrease, emphasising the damage that such reductions could do to Australia’s economy and more specifically, the coal industry. To the average observer, it appeared as if Labor had everything going in its favor. Labor presented stronger policies where they mattered, had harsher rhetoric, a history that isn’t as marked by scandal and even a psychic crocodile who goes by Burt.
“I thought the pendulum had swung, I thought the young vote and climate change would carry the vote. It hasn’t.” - Former premier of Victoria Jeff Kennett.
Current News Vista, Prime Minister and Liberal leader, Scott Morrison (with family).
Yet on May the 18th when the polls closed and voters had returned to their homes, the Liberals had won with 76 seats in parliament and their national party allies with 10. Labor while not far behind with 66 seats failed to gain a majority and their usual allies, the Greens and other left-leaning independents had failed to garner much momentum. This solidifying the grasp of the right-leaning coalition over Australian politics and government once again. Despite Labor’s loss, they did manage to deal one blow to the Liberal party. Tony Abbott, former Liberal prime minister and leader of the more heavily right-leaning branch of the party was ejected from parliament after 25 years. The man who had once called for Australia to withdraw from the Paris-climate accords seems to have fallen out of touch with his wealthier more environmentally inclined constituents. Demonstrating that Australians remain concerned about the climate. Despite the loss of a prestigious party member’s seat, the Liberals appear to of emerged stronger. Having adjusted their party’s rules so that they will no longer be able to shuffle through party leaders/prime ministers, a move clearly designed to reassure voters. Once the results where in and the election had been called for Morrison’s coalitions he thanked the “quiet Australians” for a “miracle” victory.
“...absolute crap...” - Former prime minister, Tony Abbott, in regards to climate change.
Despite the recent floundering of the Liberals in the past few years, the concerns of Australians and the apparent strength of Labor. A right-wing coalition has once again seized parliament and held onto power. Almost certainly meaning that Australia will fail to take the substantial action on climate change that so many citizens desire and the status quo will remain. Perhaps voters will be enticed to swap out their leaders in the next election? For now it is certain that not much will change, which in itself is a huge and unexpected twist for many Australians.