Robert HARNEIS -TDO- (FRANCE) - Prime Minster Scott Morrison has thanked Australia’s ‘silent’ majority for giving his minority coalition a ‘miraculous’ win.
The results are a big surprise and have wrong footed the opinion polls that predicted that Labor’s environmentally friendly Bill Shorten would win a narrow victory. Shorten told his stunned supporters that Labor could not form a government. He has announced his resignation as head of the party and called his opponent to congratulate him.
17 million Australians went to the polls which are compulsory.
The Australian Prime Minister only took over the party last August. He was very much on his own in defending his record as some ministers declined to campaign and others kept quiet so as not to damage the campaign. He has benefited from strong support from the Murdoch newspapers. His campaign was aimed at older, better off voters who were worried by Labor’s plans to remove certain tax advantages to finance increased expenditure on health education and the environment.
The campaign was turbulent with candidates attacked and others who gave up after racist or sexist attacks on social media. A man was arrested on Friday just before the vote for stabbing an opposing political activist in the stomach with a cork screw.
In March 2019, Morrison was involved in a spat with Turkey's President Erdogan over the Christchurch mosque shooting in New Zealand. The Turkish President said Australians and New Zealanders who came to Turkey with anti-Muslim sentiments "would be sent back in coffins like their grandfathers were" during the Gallipoli Campaign of World War I.
The surprise result will be greeted with satisfaction in Washington as Morrison is more US compatible and has notably failed to support his fellow citizen, journalist Julian Assange, in his struggle with the United States.