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Heading into last Saturday’s election in Australia, Prime Minister Scott Morrison was a dead man walking.
Polls showed the left-wing Labor Party pulling away from his conservative Liberal-National Coalition in what newspapers across the globe were calling “The Climate Change Election.” Polls were being thrown around showing that more and more Australians were prioritizing climate action as their top issue, and opposition leader Bill Shorten was being heralded as the next prime minister.
Fast - Hours - Sunday - Morning - Morrison
Fast forward 24 hours to Sunday morning: Morrison’s shock re-election has made him a conservative folk-hero, while Shorten has resigned the leadership of Labor in the face of a humiliating defeat.
So, what happened?
Polls - Media - Science - World - Landlines
For one, it appears that the polls were just plain wrong, with the Australian media noting that polling as a science is struggling to keep up in a world without landlines, and increasingly relying on robocalls rather than live operators.
That said, polling failure only explains why Morrison’s re-election was a shock, not why it happened.
Takeaways - Results - Swing - Labor - Areas
Among the big takeaways from these results is the massive swing against Labor in industrial and working-class areas. Australia’s national broadcaster profiled several towns where the bottom fell out of Labor’s vote, and the first two towns listed were (respectively) centers of mining and sugarcane farming. These were places where people actually do the type labor that give the Labor Party its name.
Among the big takeaways from these results is the massive swing against Labor in industrial and working-class areas.
Night - Breakthrough - Climate - Activists - Defeat
Perhaps even more illustratively, the night’s only real breakthrough for climate activists was the defeat of conservative former Prime Minister Tony Abbott in his campaign for re-election to Parliament.
Abbott has represented the wealthy suburban-Sydney seat of Warringah since 1994, a seat that has been held continuously by conservatives since the foundation of the Australian Parliament. Yet, Abbott was ousted by a centrist independent...
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