by WorldTribune Staff, May 19, 2019
Prime Minister Scott Morrison won his first full term in office in Australia after voters gave his conservative coalition an unexpected victory that the country’s Left and media said could not happen.
Many observers compared Morrison’s triumph to U.S. President Donald Trump’s 2016 election victory over Hillary Clinton.
Most polls had said the liberal Labor Party would win at least 50 percent of the vote. Most Australian media all but guaranteed a win for Labor, which ran on a campaign based mainly on climate change and wealth redistribution.
Trump tweeted out “congratulations” to Morrison and said the two leaders in a phone call reaffirmed the “critical importance” of the long-standing alliance and friendship between the United States and Australia.
“Every single opinion poll for the past two years had pointed to a Labor victory ahead of Saturday’s vote, predicting the demise of the architect of Australia’s famously tough migration and border policies,” Breitbart News noted.
Morrison’s campaign concentrated on jobs, income, helping first home buyers, security for pensioners and the continued mining of the nation’s massive coal resources.
“It has been those Australians who have worked hard every day, they have their dreams, they have their aspirations, to get a job, to get an apprenticeship, to start a business, to meet someone amazing,” Morrison, a devout Christian, said after his party’s victory.
“To start a family, to buy a home, to work hard and provide the best you can for your kids. To save for your retirement. These are the quiet Australians who have won a great victory tonight!”
For the Labor Party, which had been assured victory by pollsters, bookmakers and assorted media talking heads “it was a bruising and unexpected result,” The Guardian noted, adding the election “has been likened to the votes that led to Donald Trump being elected and Brexit winning approval in the UK.”
The shocking result prompted Bill Shorten to step down as Labor’s leader.
Australia holds elections every three years but, due to frequent infighting, no prime minister has succeeded in serving a full term since 2007.
Voting is compulsory in Australia. Anyone aged 18 and over faces a A$20 (U.S. $14) fine for not taking part. In the previous election, 95 percent of Australians voted – a much higher proportion than the most recent U.S. (55 percent) and UK (69 percent) polls.
Morrison has also indicated he favors moving Australia’s embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.
“I know that under your leadership the great friendship between Australia and Israel will grow even stronger,” Israel Prime Minister Netanyahu said to Morrison on Twitter late Saturday night, acknowledging the deep ties between the two countries.