After six years of drama under the Labor Party, Australians elected the Liberal-National coalition led by Tony Abbott. The Coalition is expected to win 89 seats against 57 for Labor.
Don’t be fooled by the Liberal name, Australia has moved rightward. Abbott is considered a social conservative with his opposition to abortion and same sex marriage.
Labor tried to portray Abbott as anti-woman because he said his daughters weren’t bad looking and that voters should support a Liberal candidate because of her sex appeal. Labor also focused their attention on his occasional verbal gaffes such as when he said, “no one can be the suppository of all wisdom.” But Australians decided they would rather take a chance with Abbott than have three more years of drama.
However, former Australian Labor PM Bob Hawke said that Labor had erred in underestimating Abbott. But after the votes were counted Hawke said the election had been “lost by the government rather than won by the opposition.”
There’s certainly some truth to that. In November 2007, the Labor Party under Kevin Rudd ousted the Liberal-National Coalition led by John Howard after more than a decade in office. But less than three years later, Rudd was ousted in a party coup by Julia Gillard, who became both Labor Party leader and Prime Minister. As I wrote, “Imagine if Hillary Rodham Clinton had organized a bloodless coup against President Obama.” Two months later, Gillard was elected in her own right albeit with the help of the Green Party as both Labor and the Liberals won 72 seats creating a hung parliament.
Rudd remained as Foreign Affairs Minister, but resigned in February 2012 while in Washington, D.C. and unsuccessfully attempted to wrest power back from Gillard. However, Rudd bided his time and did to Gillard what she did to him last June. While Rudd did enjoy a surge in support at the polls it proved to be shortlived. Although Rudd retained his seat in parliament, he has now stepped aside as leader of the Labor Party. Had he not resigned, Rudd would have surely faced another revolt from within his own party.
Today, Australia chose competent conservatism over chaotic socialism.