Labor seizes power in Australia

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison acknowledged Saturday, May 21, his defeat in the legislative elections, which put an end to nine years of Conservative government. Some 17.2 million voters were called upon to choose the 151 seats in the House of Representatives for a three-year term. Forty of the 76 senate seats were also renewed for six years.

Morale at half mast, Australians go to the polls

The polls left little doubt, even if the gap between the two political forces tended to narrow in recent days. It was therefore Anthony Albanese’s Labor Party which won the general elections on Saturday 21st May. A victory that marks the return to power of this party after nine years of conservative government. “This (Saturday) evening I spoke to the Leader of the Opposition and the new Prime Minister, Anthony Albanese, and I congratulated him on his electoral victory”said the outgoing head of government.

Climate challenge

It was mainly his inaction against climate change that cost Scott Morrison his re-election. According to projections published by the ABC channel when half of the votes have been counted, Anthony Albanese’s Labor Party wins the largest number of MPs. At this time, 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. If necessary, he could find it on the side of environmentalists: after three years marked by major natural disasters and the pandemic, Australians have voted for an unusual number of “small” pro-environment candidates who could hold the keys to power.

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Mr Morrison’s defeat ends nine years of unchallenged rule, and the Tory Party’s collapse mainly benefits the Green Party and independent candidates nicknamed ‘teals’ – mostly highly qualified women advocating environmental protection, gender equality and the fight against corruption – which are at the top in several constituencies, mainly urban.

The challenges of the future government

“Voters have said the climate crisis is something they want to act on”rejoiced Adam Bandt, leader of the green party. We have just experienced three years of drought, then fires and now floods (…). It’s happening, it’s getting worse”he added.

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While the electoral campaign focused on the personality of the two classic party leaders, MM. Morrison and Albanese, young Australians were increasingly expressing their anger: “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. » A growing concern as Mr Morrison did little to act to reduce Australia’s carbon emissions, knowing that the coal industry is one of the engines of the country’s economy.

An isolated prime minister

Suffering from low popularity and various accusations, Morrison was at an all-time low in the polls, despite the economic recovery and a historically low unemployment rate (3.9% in April). On Saturday, Mr. Albanese, 57 from a modest background, had meanwhile asked voters to give his center-left party “a chance” to lead the country. The Labor leader – who has himself been described as bland and uninspiring – focused in the final days of the campaign on Mr Morrison’s alleged failings and his international positioning. We remember in particular that Scott Morrison had broken in September 2021, the “contract of the century” signed with France in 2016, which related to twelve submarines, an envelope of some 90 billion Australian dollars (56 billion euros ). Then Minister of Foreign Affairs and signatory of the 2016 contract, Jean-Yves Le Drian took the liberty of commenting on the Australian results on Saturday: “The loss of Mr Morrison suits me very well”the former head of French diplomacy.

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Albanese pledged to help people facing soaring prices and to strengthen the participation of indigenous peoples in the development of national policy. Above all, he promised to end Australia’s delay in the fight against climate change. At the risk of dissatisfying the mining sector which plays a central role in the country’s economy.


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