The Liberals are set to lose all seats in Adelaide and Perth, and all but one seat in Melbourne, as the count continues from Saturday’s federal election, Guardian Australia reports. Scott Morrison has conceded defeat — incoming prime minister Anthony Albanese will be sworn in today by Governor-General David Hurley in one of the fastest-ever transitions to a new government, the SMH reports. He’ll ask Hurley to appoint Jim Chalmers as treasurer, Katy Gallagher as finance minister, and Penny Wong as foreign minister — Richard Marles will be deputy but has not yet revealed what portfolio he’ll choose (probably Defence). Albanese is off to the Quad meeting this week (that’s the US, India, Japan, and Australia) with Wong — yesterday US President Joe Biden called Albo to say congrats — see you soon, as the White House said.
So where do we stand as of this morning? So far 71% of votes have been counted, ABC reports, and Labor has 72 of the 76 seats it needs to rule in its own right — meaning it may not need to form a minority government after all, despite the swelling crossbench. The shellshocked Liberal-National Party have just 52 seats — meaning it has probably lost 15 seats to Labor — while the independents nabbed 10 seats and the Greens two (including Queensland’s Ryan). Dismally, about half the Liberal women in the House of Reps lost their seats this election, which — like them or loathe them — is a step backwards for diversity.
What next for the Coalition? The moderate bloodshed saw rumoured future leader Josh Frydenberg’s dreams dashed (for now), along with slain former MPs Tim Wilson, Dave Sharma, Trent Zimmerman, and several more. Peter Dutton will put himself forward to be opposition leader in a matter of days, The Brisbane Times reports, and there’s talk of Anne Ruston being his deputy, meaning the Coalition would almost certainly swerve right in the Albanese era. Home Affairs minister Karen Andrews and Trade minister Dan Tehan could put their names forward too, but Dutton is the obvious pick. Here we go…
MURUGAPPAN FAMILY SET TO RETURN TO BILOELA
One family has welcomed a Labor win perhaps more than any other — the Murugappan family, who are set to return home to Biloela, Guardian Australia reports. The Tamil asylum seekers have spent four years in immigration detention after being snatched from their small country town. The Coalition has maintained that Nades and Priya, along with their young daughters Kopika and Tharnicaa, would never be allowed permanent residency because they arrived by boat to Australia. But Labor promised them a visa — making it an all-or-nothing election for the family. Check out the emotional moment when they realised they can stay here in Australia. It comes just weeks after the Coalition promised those in immigration detention would be forced to pay their own bill — a bipartisan pledge, after then opposition spokesperson for immigration Kristina Keneally openly supported the claw-back scheme on Twitter to much criticism.
Keneally lost her seat of Fowler at the weekend — Tu Le, a local Vietnamese-Australian lawyer who was set to be Labor’s candidate until Keneally was parachuted in, says Labor “learned the hard way” that voters care about representation, as Guardian Australia reports. There was actually a hefty 16% swing to independent Dai Le in Fowler. Yikes. So why is Australia’s Parliament so white, the BBC asked at the weekend — pointing out 96% of our federal lawmakers are white, yet one in five Australians have a non-European background and speak a language at home other than English (according to our 2016 census). “But the Parliament looks almost as white as it did in the days of the ‘White Australia’ policy,” the British broadcaster’s Frances Mao writes.
WEST FRIENDS FOREVER
To the Senate now — and it looks like the Greens and Tasmanian Jacqui Lambie could decide the future of Labor’s parliamentary agenda, ABC reports. The Greens are set to have their largest-ever gain in the upper house, with 12 senators (that’s two from each of the states). Labor will probably win about 25 seats in the Senate — but it needs 39 to have the majority. Incredibly, a government hasn’t held a Senate majority since the John Howard years (is that why some look back on that era with rose-tinted glasses?). The Senate will be majority-female, but the future of one woman — One Nation’s Pauline Hanson — is not yet known, as Crikey’s Cam Wilson writes. Despite a 2% swing nationwide, One Nation went backwards in seats like Hunter and Hinkler. Similarly, it looks like the United Australia Party (UAP) chair Clive Palmer’s “most expensive election campaign ever” did squat — indeed UAP leader, former Liberal Craig Kelly, lost his seat of Hughes at the weekend.
And the UAP fallout also damaged the Coalition, WA Premier Mark McGowan says — the WA Labor leader said the Morrison government was “rightly punished” for supporting Palmer’s doomed hard border challenge, The West ($) reports. WA saw the nation’s biggest swing to Labor — 10.8% — as four seats flipped red (McGowan’s own popularity would’ve helped too). Why? It was at least in part to WA Labor’s outgoing state secretary Tim Picton’s paid campaign, which relentlessly reminded Western Australians that the Coalition backed Palmer’s challenge. Incredibly, one of Scott Morrison’s closest confidants Ben Morton has lost his seat of Tangney, which was a pretty big shock — while former cabinet minister Ken Wyatt lost Hasluck, and Labor easily took Liberal-held Pearce and Swan.
ON A LIGHTER NOTE
Kiwi man Rowan Oswald was browsing a second-hand-book fair in Auckland back in 2015 when he came across a very old book of poems. Curious, he picked it up and read the title: Poetical Works of Robert Burns from the 19th Century. Huh, he thought, this would be a great memento for this happy time. He was studying in Dunedin with his girlfriend Amy (who he’d go on to marry), and he’d seen the Robert Burns statue in the city centre earlier. So he paid 50 cents and took the book home, where it sat on his bookshelf unopened for seven years — until now. Last weekend, Amy was gathering books for a community library when Rowan figured he’d donate a few himself. He reached for the book “and something just told me to open it”, he told Stuff.
The first page floored him. Scribbled in blue ink was a name — Fred Mullen — and an address he immediately recognised as his great-uncle Fred’s. He’d been at the house countless times as a boy, recalling the long driveway and a squashy armchair where Uncle Fred would read one of the titles from a wall covered in books. Uncle Fred was a navigator on Avro Lancaster bombers in World War II, Rowan said, and after returning from the war, he would make all the kids Christmas presents in his wood workshop — spinning tops and chess sets — while Rowan played in the garden. “The smell of grapes and wood shavings are my most vivid memories,” Rowan says. “I remember Fred always had time for us”. Uncle Fred died in 2000 and yet a little piece of him lives on, bouncing around New Zealand before finding its way home to Rowan.
Wishing you a little magic in your Monday morning too.
I can’t help but tell you that the defeat of the Prime Minister Morrison suits me very well. Because the actions taken with regard to France that Morrison took were of a brutality, of a cynicism, and may I say a notorious incompetence. I hope we can renew a frank and constructive dialogue with Australia in the future.
Jean-Yves Le Drian
The delighted French foreign minister made his feelings plain about the Coalition’s loss at the weekend — there’s no doubt our French exit from the $90 billion submarine deal was catastrophic for our Franco-relations.
“Palmer’s near-$100 million spend has barely improved the UAP’s showing from the 2019 election. Nationwide, the party added less than 1% to bring its primary vote to 4.3% in the House of Representatives, claiming no seats and losing its parliamentary leader Craig Kelly’s seat in Hughes. However, it did see big spikes in its votes in outer-suburban seats in Queensland and Victoria and may might pick up a Senate spot in Victoria.
“One Nation had a deceptively poor night. National averages show a swing towards it of nearly 2% — but that’s a result of running candidates nationwide rather than in selected seats. It actually went backwards in seats like Hunter and Hinkler where it had strong 2019 showings. Lifetime leader Pauline Hanson’s return to the Senate is looking far from certain.”
“The election result has destroyed the myth, endlessly peddled by the press gallery, that Morrison is some sort of political genius. It turns out he got lucky in 2019 against an opponent in Bill Shorten who served him up a bain-marie of possible scare campaigns. Faced with an opponent less inclined to spend an election campaign with a bright-red target on his back, Morrison struggled. Only his opponent’s stumbles kept him in the game.
“Throughout the campaign, Morrison stuck doggedly to the playbook crafted across multiple elections in Australia, the US and the UK by right-wing apparatchiks: relentless demonisation of your opponent (whether Labor or independent), micro-targeted pork-barrelling, culture wars and intense coordination with News Corp and tame journalists. In doing so, he sealed the fate of more moderate MPs based in seats that have been the party’s heartland since the formation of the Liberal Party.”
“Morrison’s promotion of Deves’ obsession with trans people appears to have backfired. The early results show that a confected moral panic around trans women in sport does not resonate with most voters, confirming prior polling that said as much. Australian conservatism’s dabbling in the anti-trans politics that has become increasingly popular with its US and UK counterparts has not paid off — at least for now.
“It’s not all silver linings. Deves’ candidacy has undeniably elevated the issue. It found currency in some corners of the media, particularly in News Corp stables. Trans Australians have seen some of the country’s most powerful people and a third of voters in Warringah support a candidate who called them mutilated, sex offenders. This has a real impact. Calls to the national LGBTIQA+ helpline QLife spiked during Deves’ campaign.”
READ ALL ABOUT IT
Millions displaced and dozens dead in flooding in India and Bangladesh (The New York Times)
Stock market bottom remains elusive despite deepening decline (The Wall Street Journal) ($)
[US] heat records fall across a sweltering nation (The New York Times)
A swift Liberal comeback is possible, if we react the right way — Simon Birmingham (The SMH): “Whatever the merits, or otherwise, of debates about transgender sport participation, they are a distraction from core campaign messages. When arguments on these issues are put in extreme or offensive terms they ostracise everyday Australians who may have some sympathy for the technical argument but have little tolerance if they are just targeting minorities. The widely reported comments of Katherine Deves, coming on top of years of debate on same-sex marriage that resulted in an unnecessary plebiscite, coupled with debates about the rights of gay school students, were clearly unhelpful in key seats.
“On climate, it may surprise some to learn of the extent of strong leadership Scott Morrison showed to enable our government to commit Australia to net-zero emissions by 2050. He knew that our performance in reducing emissions faster than most nations wasn’t as well known as it should be, that we had to make this commitment to strengthen our position on the world stage and to remain an investment destination of choice. It is to Morrison’s credit that he fought for net-zero and I know that he was willing to put it all on the line to achieve that outcome. But it shouldn’t have taken such effort to bring the coalition on that necessary journey.”
What to expect from the new Labor government — Craig Emerson (The AFR): “Crucial to the success of the Hawke–Keating reform era was the identification of the economic problems Australia faced and explaining them at length to the Australian people rather than acting precipitously and breaking promises, as the Abbott government did in its disastrous 2014 budget. Albanese’s Employment Summit can serve this purpose. Those impatient for reform will demand immediate action thereafter – forgetting that the Hawke-Keating reforms spanned a total of 13 years …
“In the meantime, a forensic examination of the Morrison government’s rorted grants programs and other wasteful expenditure will be on the agenda. An exhausted Prime Minister Albanese is heading to a meeting of the Quad in Tokyo. Upon his return he will need to begin the process of re-setting the relationship with China, which has deteriorated to the point where for more than a year no dialogue has been occurring at ministerial level with Australia’s biggest trading partner … There is much to be proud of, which will form the basis for our rebuild, alongside the lessons from our defeat. Australia always needs a strong opposition, which now requires a strong Liberal Party, reflective of liberal values, controlled by its members and reflective of our modern society. We only achieve that if people step up and get involved, which I urge those who share these views to do.”
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WHAT’S ON TODAY
Ngunnawal Country (also known as Canberra)
European Union Ambassador to Australia Michael Pulch and Ukrainian Ambassador to Australia Vasyl Myroshnychenko are among the speakers at a global energy transition and energy trade conference held at ANU.
Kaurna Country (also known as Adelaide)
Academic Alan Reid will talk about political life in South Australia in the 1860s looking at the lives and contributions of SA’s 5th to 8th premiers, held at the University of South Australia.