Despite widespread predictions that the opposition Labor Party would will in the elections held on Saturday, May 18, Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s ruling coalition has managed to hold on to power for one more term, in an outcome that Mr Morrison dubbed a “miracle.”
Singapore’s Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong was among the first to congratulate Mr Morrison. In a letter dated May 19 (Sunday) and posted on the website of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, PM Lee wrote, “Warmest congratulations on the Coalition’s well-fought victory at Australia’s federal elections, and on your election as Prime Minister!
Singapore and Australia share a robust and longstanding relationship, and cooperate closely across a broad spectrum of areas including defence, trade, science and innovation, and people-to-people exchanges.”
PM Lee also wrote that he was looking forward to continuing to work with Mr Morrison, who has been Australia’s Prime Minister since August 2018. “Our Comprehensive Strategic Partnership has deepened significantly in recent years, and I look forward to continue working with you to strengthen existing links, and to explore new areas of collaboration such as in the digital economy.”
In his congratulatory letter, PM Lee also wrote about the bilateral leaders’ summit, for which Mr Morrison would be visiting Singapore later this year. “I hope that you will be able to visit Singapore officially this year to attend the annual Singapore-Australia Leaders’ Summit so that we can discuss these issues further. I wish you the very best of health and success, and look forward to seeing you soon.”
Labor Party leader Bill Shorten called Mr Morrison to concede on the evening of May 18. He also announced that he would step down as Opposition leader.
He expressed his disappointment on the outcome of the elections and pressed Australia’s government to finally craft a solid plan to combat climate change.
“We campaigned on a positive vision… Clearly on climate action, amongst others, parts of our nation remain deeply divided. For the sake of the next generation, Australia must find a way forward on climate change,” he said.
The Labor Party had run on a platform of sweeping tax reform, while the Prime Minister had concentrated on keeping Australia’s economy robust. Unemployment has stayed low, and furthermore, the country has enjoyed 27 years of continuous economic growth.
Even as surveys had shown that Mr Morrison’s Liberal-National Coalition consistently trailed the Labor Party, elections ended with the Prime Minister remaining in power. Experts say that since more and more people in Australia have begun to use mobile phones instead of landlines in the past few years, it has become more difficult for pollsters to obtain voter samples that are reliable throughout the vast expanse of the country.
Mr Morrison’s coalition had already taken 76 seats in the Lower House, compared to 65 seats for Labor, with five seats won by independents, and one by the Green Party. This means that Mr Morrison’s conservative coalition would be forming a majority government.
A professing Christian, Mr Morrison said of his victory, “I have always believed in miracles. Tonight is not about me… Tonight is about every single Australian who depends on their Government to put them first.”/ TISG
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