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Miracle win offers Australian PM authority and government stability

In Summary

• By winning what was seen as an unwinnable election, the unexpected leader has cemented his authority over the Liberal Party.

• Morrison became prime minister as a compromise candidate.

Australia's Prime Minister Scott Morrison with wife Jenny, children Abbey and Lily after winning the 2019 Federal Election on Sunday, May 19, 2019.
Australia's Prime Minister Scott Morrison with wife Jenny, children Abbey and Lily after winning the 2019 Federal Election on Sunday, May 19, 2019.
Image: REUTERS

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison may have won more than just another three years in office for his conservative coalition government.

By winning what was seen as an unwinnable election, the unexpected leader has cemented his authority over the Liberal Party, giving him the muscle to end a decade of instability that has seen a revolving door of prime ministers.

It was a stunning personal victory for Morrison, who largely flew solo during campaign as senior ministers stayed close to home to defend seats thought to be at risk.

“It was a one-man show. There will be much written about this in the years to come,” Haydon Manning, a professor of political science at Flinders University, told Reuters. “He delivered the victory against the odds.”

Morrison became prime minister as a compromise candidate after a right-wing faction ousted Malcolm Turnbull as Liberal Party leader last August.

The resulting Liberal-National coalition was behind in every opinion poll - including an exit poll on Saturday - since Morrison took over, with voters angry at Turnbull’s ouster and frustrated by a perceived lack of action over climate change and a dearth of fresh polices.

But Morrison on Saturday defied those odds, securing re-election in what he described as a miracle. The coalition is on course to win a third term either with the support of independents or through an outright majority.