Anthony Albanese and Australia’s new leftist government: here’s what you need to know

For much of its history, Australian politics has been dominated by the two main parties: the centre-right Liberals and the centre-left Labour. But this election threw all the balls in the air, sending more than a few to smaller parties and independents who were fed up with the two-party system.

Here’s what we learned.

The election results showed a strong swing towards independents who campaigned on climate-related issues.

The candidates – many of them entering politics for the first time – were seeking to cut their emissions by up to 60% – more than double what the ruling Conservative coalition (26-28%) promised and also more than Labor ( 43%). %). Known as the teal candidates, they targeted traditionally blue Liberal seats with greener policies.

“Millions of Australians have put the climate first. Now is the time to radically reset the way our great nation acts on the climate challenge,” said Amanda McKenzie, CEO of the research group Climate Council, during the Saturday’s election results.

Australia has long been known as the ‘lucky country’, in part due to its wealth of coal and gas, as well as minerals like iron ore, which have driven generations of economic growth.

But it now stands on the cusp of a climate crisis, and the fires, floods and droughts that have already plagued the country are only set to become more extreme as the Earth warms.

The ruling Conservative government had 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. Incumbent Scott Morrison had said he would support a transition from coal to renewables, but had no plans to halt new coal projects.

Labor leader Anthony Albanese has vowed to end ‘climate wars’, a reference to the infighting that has frustrated all efforts to push for stronger climate action over the past decade and even cost some prime ministers their jobs.

Labor has pledged to achieve net zero emissions by 2050, in part by strengthening the mechanism used to pressure companies to make cuts.

But research institute Climate Analytics says Labor plans are not ambitious enough to keep global temperature rise to below 1.5 degrees Celsius, as outlined in the Paris Agreement.

Labor Party policies are more consistent with a 2 degree Celsius rise, the institute said, slightly better than the coalition plan.

To accelerate the transition to renewable energy, the Labor Party plans to upgrade Australia’s energy grid and deploy solar banks and community batteries. But despite its net zero commitment, Labor says it will approve new coal projects if they are environmentally and economically viable.

Women are seen and heard

Morrison’s popularity with women plummeted after several scandals involving his ministers.

Morrison himself was accused of lacking empathy when he responded to a sexual assault allegation in Parliament by suggesting his wife, Jenny Morrison, made him aware of the seriousness of the accusation.

“She said to me, ‘You have to think about it as a father first. What would you like to happen if it was our daughters?’ Jenny has a way of clearing things up. She always has,” he said.

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Thousands of women then marched across the country demanding tougher measures to keep women safe, which turned into demands for greater gender equality.

The Teal Independents were mostly older women who otherwise might have joined the Liberal Party.

Albanese read the room and promised to improve gender equality. He was even backed by his former boss, Australia’s first and only female Prime Minister, Julia Gillard, who ripped into her liberal rival with the words: ‘I will not be taking lessons in sexism and misogyny from the part of this man”. Gillard faced the media the day before the vote to say she was “very confident” that an Albanian government will be a “government for women”.

Indigenous voices will be amplified

Among the first words Albanese uttered when he took the stage to claim victory on Saturday was a promise to enshrine the voice of indigenous peoples in parliament.

“I begin by saluting the traditional owners of the lands on which we meet. I pay tribute to their past, present and emerging elders. And on behalf of the Australian Labor Party, I pledge to fully respect the Uluru declaration from the heart , ” he said.

Indigenous groups across Australia are calling for the constitution to be amended so that they are formally consulted on legislation and policies affecting their communities. This would require a national referendum, which needs political support before a yes-no question is put to the Australian people.
The Albanese Labor government provides this support. The last time Australians voted in an Aboriginal rights referendum was in 1967when 90% of the country supported a decision to include indigenous peoples in the census.
Albanian mentioned during his acceptance speech: “We should all be proud that among our great multicultural society we have the oldest living continuous culture in the world.”

Australia prioritizes Asia and US

One of Albanese’s first tasks will be to travel to Tokyo to meet his counterparts from the United States, Japan and India at the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue (Quad) summit.

Joining him will be Australian Foreign Minister Penny Wong, a veteran Asian-born Labor politician who has long been a respected voice in the Senate.

The new Labor government promises to create stronger ties with Asia. Albanese said one of his first ports of call after Japan would be Indonesia, which he said “will become an important economy in the world.”

“We live in a region where in the future we will have China, India and Indonesia as giants. We need to strengthen this economic partnership and one of the ways to do this is to also strengthen relations interpersonal,” Albanese said. mentioned.

“Indonesia is an important nation, for our economy, for these social relations too… We really need to strengthen the relationship with Indonesia and that’s why it would be a top priority for me.”

Xi Jinping dominates Australian election
Analysts say Australia’s new prime minister faces a tough challenge when it comes to China, especially after a bitter election campaign that has bring Chinese President Xi Jinping and his intentions to the fore.
Australia’s relations with China have deteriorated under the coalition government’s tenure – which began at the same time as Xi’s rule. Relations soured further in 2020 when the Australian government – ​​then led by Morrison – called for an inquiry into the origins of Covid-19. China responded with sanctions against Australian exports, including beef, barley, wine and crawfish.

China’s reaction has hardened public attitudes in Australia and prompted Canberra to lead the charge against China’s coercive actions.

The coalition has hinted that Labor would be lenient with China, but on paper Labour’s position on China looks little different from that of the Tories. Labor say they are committed to the AUKUS security pact, the deal Morrison struck with the US and UK, to the detriment of Australia’s relationship with France. He also expressed his strong support for the Quad.

Money can’t buy votes

One of the big losers in this election was Clive Palmer, the mining tycoon who reportedly spent nearly $100 million advertising for his United Australia Party for almost no influence.

The man Palmer had touted as “the next prime minister,” Craig Kelly, a Liberal Party renegade who was chastised for spreading Covid-19 misinformation and conspiracy theories, lost his seat after getting only 8% of the votes in the primaries.

Palmer, who has been dubbed “Australia’s trump card”, campaigned on the issue of freedom and opposed mandates and Covid-19 vaccine lockdowns.

This isn’t the first time Palmer has tried to win an election with big money. In 2019, he spent millions campaigning in the federal election but failed to win a single seat.

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