A seismic shift in voting patterns that worked against the ruling Liberal-National coalition while favouring the Greens and the “teal independents” as well as the Opposition Labour Party has vaulted Anthony Albanese to the Prime Minister’s seat in Australia. With a background antithetical to the prosperous urban centres and having been raised in a gritty inner Sydney suburb by a single mother, he prides himself as the first “non-Anglo Celtic name to run for PM in 12 years” and win.
Mr Albanese would be somewhat hurriedly sworn in on Monday morning so that he could represent the country as its Prime Minister at the Quad summit in Tokyo later in the day. What he would be bringing to the table as Labour PM is a new Australia more concerned with battling climate change and a willingness to convert itself to a renewable energy nation while shedding its feckless coal-burning image reiterated in three years of extreme, “global warming” disasters of bushfires and floods. The mood of “green” voters was not to be swayed by the government of Scott Morrison having handled the pandemic well enough with a low death rate in proportion to population and rescue packages for businesses.
A curious fact is that Albanese’s Labour may not have a working majority in Parliament after having its own vote share marginally cut even as those of the “teal independents” and the Greens rose phenomenally, including through seats won in conservative Queensland. How the rest of the world will come to view Mr Albanese, a seasoned politician who was briefly deputy PM to Kevin Rudd in 2013 and who is thought to be a favourite of the Left, will only be forged in times to come.
A change of direction towards restoring strong China ties may be round the corner as images of China’s President Xi Jinping also figured in the elections. As a coal importer, India may see no great shift in its Australia ties and a meeting of Prime Ministers Narendra Modi and Mr Albanese to take place on Monday in Tokyo on the sidelines of Quad may promise just that. The green swing in Australia is certain to bring a whole new perspective to the geopolitics of the Indo-Pacific region.