June 26, 2022

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Australia election live updates: Voters decide Scott Morrison's fate

Australia election live updates: Voters decide Scott Morrison’s fate

credit…Saeed Khan/AFP – Getty Images

When Scott Morrison first became Prime Minister of Australia in 2018, he was so little known that when he went to shake hands with a football fan, The confused man asked him: “What is your name then?”

After nearly four years in the leadership, Mr. Morrison’s show to voters this time around was that he and his conservative coalition are the known volumes in a world filled with economic and geopolitical uncertainty. Australia continues to struggle to emerge from the pandemic, the fallout from the war in Ukraine, and China’s encroachment on the region.

“It is a choice between a strong future and an uncertain future. It is a choice between a government you know and a Labor opposition that you don’t know,” he said in April when he called the election. “Now is not the time to take that risk.”

Mr Morrison, who scored a surprise victory in the country’s last federal election three years ago, is the only prime minister in 15 years to serve his full term. But his tenure has not always been smooth sailing, with moments that tested the Australian public’s confidence in his leadership and scandals rocking his administration.

The biggest and perhaps the most enduring of these moments came early in his tenure, when he and his family were Flowing to Hawaii While devastating bushfires erupted in Australia in late 2019. His bad interpretation during a radio interview – “I don’t carry a hose, dude.” He became a symbol of what many have criticized as his government’s inadequate response and reluctance to take climate change seriously as a factor in the disaster.

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credit…Matthew Abbott for The New York Times

Some of this public trust has been restored with the early success of his administration Curbing the COVID-19 Pandemic. Rapid border closures and strict political measures have saved Australia the death and hospitalization rates that other countries have experienced. But the government Delay in purchasing vaccines And Mr Morrison’s statement that locking punches “isn’t a race” spoiled what confidence had been restored.

In the final days of the campaign, Mr Morrison admitted that his driving style had deterred some Australians, saying he could be “a bit skittish”. But he said his approach has been essential in recent years, and he promised change.

His rival, Anthony Albanese, said Mr. Morrison should not be given another chance: “A bulldozer smashes things, a bulldozer smashes things. I’m a builder.”

Mr Morrison, the son of a police officer and raised in a Sydney beachside suburb, is a devout Pentecostal, and is a frontrunner in largely secular Australian politics. He worked as a Marketing Executive for Tourism Campaigns promoting Australia before being elected to Parliament in 2007.

He rose to prominence in the broader national consciousness in 2013 as Minister for Immigration, when he took a hard-line approach to enforcing Australia’s “stop the boats” policy, which aims to Preventing asylum seekers from reaching the country’s shores. After serving as Minister of Social Services and Treasurer, he became what some referred to as the “accidental” prime minister when he was the last one standing during an internal partisan revolution.

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In 2019, Mr Morrison, 54, ran for his first term as prime minister, painting himself as the darling of everyone, a suburban dad who loves rugby — “ScoMo,” as he liked to refer to himself. He seemed as stunned as anyone else when the center-right coalition won, calling it a “miracle”.

“It was a successful personal marketing in 2019,” said Frank Bonjorno, professor of history at the Australian National University.

But this time, he could no longer rely on the personal brand. Mr Morrison must act on his record, and there is disappointment brewing over his government’s handling of pressing issues such as Climate changeThe women treatment And corruptionMr. Bonjorno said.

“There is a sense that it is time for a change, and that is reflected in the polls at the moment,” he said.