The conservatives won a stunning landslide victory in Australia’s national elections, capturing 53% of the vote Saturday. Conservative leaders emphasized a hard line against immigration, a carbon tax, and continual increases in government spending. This “no compromise” attitude became a key to victory.
Conservative leader Tony Abbot, a former Rhodes Scholar and Catholic seminarian, has been the center of controversy throughout the campaign because of a “take-no-prisoners” attitude. And for a former boxer, this is hardly a surprise. Abbot has promised intense focus on an economy that is slowing down after a decades-long mining boom driven by demand for natural resources by China’s manufacturers.
This brought an end to six years of Labor Party rule which was marked by an extremely unpopular decision to impose a hefty tax on “carbon polluters.” Abbot promised to boost the country’s fledgling economy by ending that tax.
But it took more than just a plan to cut taxes to turn this election into a route. Asylum and immigration became major factors. Australians are concerned that an influx of asylum seekers are looking to skirt the standard immigration process, leading to a welfare state that is unsustainable by projected tax revenues. Abbot promised to protect Australians by stiffening these laws.
The unabashed conservative message that attracted Australian voters is being touted as a roadmap for opposition parties worldwide.