Analysis-Australian Prime Minister, behind in the polls and besieged by department, faces tough road to re-election

FILE PHOTO: British Prime Minister Johnson meets his Australian counterpart Morrison in London
FILE PHOTO: Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison leaves Downing Street in London, Britain, June 15, 2021. REUTERS/Henry Nicholls/File Photo

December 6, 2021

By Colin Packham

CANBERRA (Reuters) – A tumultuous parliamentary session has left Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison looking for a reset as his conservative coalition stumbles with opinion polls and infighting that have derailed the program his legislative agenda less than six months before the election.

Morrison has planned to use the final sitting of 2021 to pass bills that make a stark difference to the opposition Labor Party, including the controversial religious freedom bill promised after Same-sex marriage becomes law.

Instead, the final two weeks of parliament saw his coalition fall apart, as his own lawmakers crossed the floor to vote against the government, forcing a delay to the religious freedom bill. religion and other statutes, possibly until after the election.

Haydon Manning, professor of political science at Flinders University in South Australia, said: “The events of the past few days suggest that the government may not be able to hold power until the next election.

“It cannot pass legislation and the prime minister will have to decide whether to wait or call an early election.”

With little time left for Morrison to reverse his fortunes, as he has to go to the polls in May 2022, the prime minister has embarked on a series of unofficial campaign events.

This is not a new situation for Morrison – three years ago he just became prime minister after his predecessor was put to a party room vote and he is trailing behind in the polls. However, he won a great election in May 2019.

On Monday, closely watched press coverage suggested that Morrison’s coalition government would lose office to Labor. That, and the budget expected at the end of March, suggest that Morrison will leave his run as late as possible, just as he did in 2019.


Splits in Morrison’s government over issues such as the religious freedom bill and climate policy have occurred despite his calls for unity.

He warned his opposing lawmakers last week that the rift would cost the election dearly, a source familiar with his comments during the ruling Liberal Party meeting said. he said.

Morrison is also struggling to attract female voters, polls show. The government has been hurt following allegations this year of a rape in parliament, spurred by criticism of how senior government lawmakers have handled the lawsuit.

Fueled by public anger, Morrison released a report on parliament’s workplace culture. Published last week, it found a third of the people who worked there had experienced sexual harassment.

The problem grew when the Education Secretary stepped aside last week to await an investigation into allegations of extramarital sexual abuse against an employee, accusations that The minister strongly denied.

Morrison has also been injured by attacks on his integrity after French President Emmanuel Macron said the prime minister lied to him about a canceled submarine deal.

Labor has used parliament to repeatedly question Morrison’s credibility and credibility, and the matter appears to have appealed to some constituency. [L4N2RR0V1]

Morrison admits he was the underdog in the election, but government sources say he is confident he can repeat 2019’s miraculous victory.

Peter Chen, professor of political science at the University of Sydney, said: “He is a good campaigner, he has a feeling that people towards him and the people who like him in important areas. of the country,” said Peter Chen, professor of political science at the University of Sydney. “He can definitely turn this around.”

(Reporting by Colin Packham; Editing by Clarence Fernandez) Analysis-Australian Prime Minister, behind in the polls and besieged by department, faces tough road to re-election


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