Australia’s election was widely reported overseas, with plenty of papers enjoying the pics of Australia’s lycra-clad new prime minister. If this is how much fun they had with the lycra, imagine if Tony Abbott had appeared in budgie smugglers during the campaign …

The UK and New Zealand media ran extensive coverage, while China and Papua New Guinea focussed on issues that mattered to their respective countries.

Very few international newspapers put the election result on page one, but The Wall Street Journal, now owned by Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp, put Prime Minister-elect Tony Abbott in all his lycra-clad glory below the fold:

Wall Street Journal

The Journal ran an opinion piece from Spectator Australia editor Tom Switzer. In “The Triumph of Tony Abbott“, Switzer writes:

“According to the conventional wisdom of just a few years ago, Tony Abbott should never have become prime minister of Australia …

After all, Mr. Abbott is skeptical about alarmist claims of man-made global warming. He is a former Catholic seminarian who opposes abortion and same-s-x marriage. His gaffes — he recently said a female parliamentary candidate had “s-x appeal” — have provided fodder for left-leaning satirists …

He had the courage to broaden the appeal of a conservative agenda rather than copy the policies of his opponents. As a result, Australians enjoyed a real choice at the polls this weekend. Mr. Abbott’s resounding victory shows that they relished this opportunity to chart a more free-market course.”

The New York Times was more critical. In “Australia’s New Leader May Find Governing Harder Than Criticizing“, Matt Siegel writes:

“When Australia’s incoming prime minister, Tony Abbott, declared victory in the national elections held over the weekend, he pledged to swiftly enact the ambitious legislative agenda he had outlined on the campaign trail …

“But Mr. Abbott, who during four years as opposition leader made his name as a ferocious opponent of the governing Labor Party’s agenda, now finds himself in unfamiliar territory, analysts say. The lawmaker known as ‘Dr. No’ must learn to enact legislation, rather than simply criticizing it.”

Chinese newspaper China Daily put a pointer on its front page, with the accompanying story focusing mainly on the carbon tax:

China Daily

China Daily

The China Post ran a wire story, “Abbott to lead Australia, Labor’s Rudd to step down“, on its front page.

China Post

The Agence France Presse story also ran in the South China Morning Post:

“Conservative challenger Tony Abbott declared Australia ‘under new management’ Saturday after Prime Minister Kevin Rudd conceded election defeat and said he will step down as Labor leader …

“Abbott, a former trainee Catholic priest, boxing enthusiast and monarchist, capitalised on the infighting that saw Rudd oust Julia Gillard as Labor leader in June, three years after she did the same to him.”

In Papua New Guinea’s national Post Courier newspaper, “PNG awaits Abbot’s [sic] move” focused on Kevin Rudd’s controversial Manus Island asylum seeker solution:

 “The election of a new government in Australia should augur well for Papua New Guinea-Australia relations with key Liberal Party figures already committing to building on the relationship.

“However, discontent in Manus over benefits expected to flow from the Australian-funded regional migration processing centre confirms that the government of Prime Minister-elect Tony Abbot needs to get to work immediately upon entering office to avoid a confrontation between disgruntled landowners and the centre’s contractors and service providers. Head of PNG Business Council Ernie Gangloff and Chey Scovell, head of the Australia Business Council and the PNG Manufacturers Council, told the Post-Courier in separate interviews last night that Deputy Liberal Party Leader Julie Bishop had assured PNG leaders in her previous visits that they would build on the PNG-Australia relationship that was put back on track by the Labor government.”

London’s Daily Telegraph has written 14 stories on Australia’s British-born PM-elect:

Daily Telegraph

“Tony Abbott, Australia’s prime minister-elect, started his first day after his landslide election win with an earlymorning cycle ride but immediately proceeded to start scrapping his country’s carbon tax and toughening immigration laws …

“Mr Abbott, a British-born fitness fanatic, followed an evening celebrating his election win by setting out on his weekly journey with friends slightly later than usual at 6.30am.”

Across the Tasman The New Zealand Herald ran “Abbott gets straight into gear for new Coalition reign” across both pages of its world section, with details of individual seat results, Labor leadership speculation and the resignation of Simon Crean and Martin Ferguson:

New Zealand Herald

Near the end the story also mentioned Abbott’s Kiwi connection:

“His New Zealand-born wife Margie popped out for a few groceries, still coming to terms with looming changes to family life. ‘It’s a little surreal,’ she told reporters.”

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Peter Fray
Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey
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