Prime Minister Scott Morrison is asking voters to grant him a second term after three years dominated by the pandemic, climate disasters and accusations of dishonesty.

Morrison’s popularity has waned since he defied the polls to clinch a “miracle” victory over Labor in 2019, and this election is seen as a referendum on his self-proclaimed “bulldozer” style of leadership.

Morrison’s main rival is Anthony Albanese, a Labor Party veteran who inherited the party leadership after his predecessor resigned in shock after the 2019 election defeat.

This time, Labor has reduced its political bids to narrow the gap between itself and the ruling Liberal-National coalition, although all three face an unprecedented challenge from campaigning ‘teal’ independents. for more climate action and political integrity.

Backed by the founding millionaire of “Climate 200”, the color teal blends their “blue” liberal views with “green” beliefs.

Big parties need at least 76 seats to govern outright – no less and they will have to negotiate with smaller parties and independents to gain enough support to form a minority government.

Voting is compulsory and more than 17 million Australians are expected to have voted before the final ballot closes at 6 p.m. in Western Australia (6 a.m. ET).

If there is a clear winner, the outcome could be known within hours – but a close race can take days or even weeks to resolve.

The big issues

Across the country, smoke billows from barbecues at polling stations as volunteers prepare ‘Democracy sausages’ wrapped in a slice of bread topped with onions and gravy – a decades-old Australian election tradition .

Volunteers wearing party colors hover nearby, waiting to push “how to vote” cards into the hands of anyone they suspect is undecided.

After leading the polls for weeks, the chances of a Labor victory in the final days before the vote have dwindled, although public polls are approached with caution following the upheaval of 2019. Then even the bookmakers were caught off guard with SportsBet reportedly losing more than $5 million after paying out a Labor victory two days earlier.

Australian elections are usually a two-horse race between the Liberal-National coalition and Labor – and while their policies appear similar, these are important distinctions.

Anthony Albanese, leader of the opposition Labor Party, votes in Sydney during Australia's general election.
Most significant globally is their stance on the climate crisis.

The Morrison government has been branded ‘recalcitrant’ by the UN secretary-general after it presented a plan to reach net zero by 2050 by creating massive new gas projects. The government says it supports a transition from coal to renewables, but has no plans to stop new coal projects.

the "lucky country"  faces a crucial test.  The outcome will affect us all

Labor says they will cut emissions by 43% by 2030, above the coalition target of 26-28% but less than what climate scientists say is needed to keep the temperature rising below 1.5 degrees Celsius, as agreed in the Paris Agreement. Climate-conscious independents want emissions cuts closer to 60% by 2030 and are disrupting the warm relationship between the government and the mining industry.

Little separates the main parties on foreign policy, although Labor says they will rebuild the relationship they accuse the coalition of damaging during his tenure. This includes the French, whom Morrison angered by canceling a $90 billion submarine contract in favor of the AUKUS security pact with the US and UK. The coalition and Labor pledged to be tough on China, which signed a security deal with the Solomon Islands during the election campaign, leading to claims Canberra had dropped the ball in the Pacific.

Other issues dominating the election include housing affordability, inflation and the cost of living, which are not unique to Australia. Morrison says only the coalition can be trusted to manage a pandemic-battered economy amid predictions that rising interest rates could inflict more financial hardship on overextended homeowners. Meanwhile, Labor says it is the only party standing up for workers whose wages have stagnated even as inflation hits its highest level in 20 years.

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison takes a selfie after voting in Sydney on May 21, 2022.

Why Morrison might go

Morrison stumbled just months in his direction when he made the politically disastrous decision to vacation in Hawaii as bushfires ravaged the country. He cut his vacation short after the deaths of two volunteer firefighters, but justified his absence to a radio interviewer with a phrase that has become shorthand for spending money: “I don’t hold a pipe, mate.”
Months later, when the first case of Covid was discovered in Australia, Morrison was quick to act. He closed the country’s borders for two years but was criticized for not rolling out vaccinations quickly, which critics say allowed local outbreaks to take hold, forcing major cities into lockdown for decades. month. To date, just over 8,000 people have died in Australia from Covid, and around 50,000 new cases are reported every day.
Opinion: How the
The PM was also attacked for his lack of empathy when dealing with a Liberal staffer who alleged she was raped in parliament, prompting a mass rally in 2021 by Australian women who called on the government to do better. During the pandemic, women’s groups have criticized the government’s drive to rebuild male-dominated “helmet” industries, while neglecting sectors that largely employ women – hospitality, the arts – which have suffered from prolonged closures.

Insults were hurled throughout the election campaign, with Morrison branding Albanese a ‘loose unit’ after the Labor leader said he would ‘absolutely’ support a pay rise to keep up with inflation. Morrison turned the mirror on himself when he admitted at a press conference he could be a bit of a ‘bulldozer’ – then vowed he would change. Election results can reveal whether voters believe them.

The big unknown in this election is whether voters will turn their backs on the big parties to vote for the smaller parties or the independents. Most Teal Independents are highly educated women who have turned to politics and become frustrated with the “boy’s club” of Canberra politics.
Campaign posters for independent candidate Monique Ryan at the Kooyong headquarters in Melbourne.

Hanabeth Luke was nominated as an independent in the electorate of Page in northern New South Wales after hearing Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce say the government could not cut greenhouse gas emissions because it would harm farmers.

“I was furious,” said Luke, a scientist who teaches climate resilience at Southern Cross University. At the time, she was marking students’ homework on their lived experience of climate change. “The students made me cry. We’re talking about crops dying in the fields, then fires burning the crops, then a flood washing away the fields,” she said.

“The rage I felt then led me to say, ‘There’s an election coming up. We can’t leave this government for three more years to allow our children’s future to burn.'”

Polls on independents are mixed, but Zareh Ghazarian, a politics professor at Monash University, says some could do “real damage” to the Liberal Party.

One of the most influential battles is taking place in the Victorian seat of Kooyong, where Monique Ryan, a pediatric neurologist and newcomer to politics, seeks to replace Liberal Treasurer Josh Frydenberg, who is seen as a future leader of the Liberal Party.

“If (the independents) were to win their seats, it would not only make it harder for the Liberal Party to maintain government, but it would also deprive them of potential leadership options in the future,” Ghazarian said. “So it’s a big issue for the coalition.”