Scott Morrison started his tenure as the Australian Prime Minister in August 2018 after getting through the chaotic period of political infighting and surprise twists. The poor opinion polls made some people believe that the government would be re-elected. Though it didn’t happen, Morrison has surely started being recognised as a shrewd and pragmatic political engineer. A lot of such things have made people question that is he the Prime Minister that Australia needed?
Being the controversy’s favourite child, earlier, Scott Morrison opposed the same-sex marriage bill. Though he didn’t actively participate in the debate, it surely gave a clear sign of his pragmatic approach when politics and personal beliefs collide. He also rose to national prominence for supporting Australia’s non-ethical way to treat the asylum seekers, including the “Stop the Boats” policy, as immigration minister in Tony Abbott’s government. This brought so much criticism for him publicly, but he didn’t take it back and also remained intent on the allegations about the transparency as far as everything happening at Australia’s offshore detention centres.
One of the country’s leading religious conservatives, Morrison’s tenure as prime minister has also been quite controversial till now by the fact that he has overseen a minority government. Earlier in February this year, his government endured a defeat as parliament passed a bill that streamlined the procedure to provide the sick refugees in offshore detention with the medical facilities they need. This was the first time since 1929 that the Liberal Party had lost a substantive vote on the floor of the House of Representatives.
While he has been creating controversies with his decisions in Australia, he also emerged as a Liberal Party hero in the elections. Everyone knows that Morrison was not the first choice in terms of replacing Malcolm Turnbull, but he is responsible for bringing all the pieces together of the fractured government and winning the expectedly lost election. Now, the authority he wields over the cabinet and backbench, combining Labor- has left the opposition worried about him completing two full terms as the Prime Minister of Australia.
The most significant advantage for Morrison is to command a party room with no destructive rivalry of Turnbull and Tony Abbott. This will happen for the first time in 15 years, and the new party rules will also refrain from any leadership challenge for him. Also, the bonus of a broken and dejected Labor will benefit him as it will take the party’s new leadership team at least two years to rebuild and rebrand them. According to his side, Morrison has “firm ideas” on what he wants to achieve in the next three years, starting from legislating income tax cuts, fixing the National Disability Insurance Scheme, talking about housing affordability and doing more to combat youth suicide. However, it will not be a one-person band on policy this time.
Looking at the current scenario, it’s going to be a tough task for the opposition in the 2022 elections. The once upon a time ‘safe’ suburban seats held by Labor seems to be a challenge now as some Coalition seats that Labor expected to win this year now boast double-digit margins. The north Queensland electorate of Capricornia, Bonner in suburban Brisbane and Petrie in northern Brisbane are the major ones among them. All the three seats played a pivotal role in the victory of Kevin Rudd in 2007. It will be interesting to see if Scott Morrison successfully takes the achievement forward or makes mistakes leading to his defeat in the next elections.