Australia Elections 2022: Climate Change, Women's Safety & China on the Ballot

Prime Minister Scott Morrison will be seeking to retain power while his main challenger will be Anthony Albanese.

4 min read
Australia Elections 2022: Climate Change, Women's Safety & China on the Ballot
Hindi Female

The Quint DAILY

For impactful stories you just can’t miss

By subscribing you agree to our Privacy Policy

Did you know that voting is mandatory in Australia? Those who don't vote can be fined up to around 80 Australian dollars.

That is quite a fun fact given that it is election season in Australia.

The federal election is scheduled to be held on 21 May and the incumbent, Prime Minister Scott Morrison of the Liberal Party, will be seeking to retain power.

His main challenger, according to the pre-election polls, seems to be Anthony Albanese of the Labor Party, who is also the Leader of the Opposition of Australia.

How does the electoral system work in this country? What do we know about the two main contestants? And what are the key campaign issues for this election?


Voting: How Does it Work?

Australia's elections are quite similar to India's. The federal parliament consists of the House of Representatives (lower house) and the Senate (upper house).

There are 151 seats in the former. Therefore, the number of seats needed to win a majority for party is 76.

Voting works within a preferential system, which means that voters rank the candidates in order of their preference while casting their vote.

All candidates on the list have to be ranked by the voter.

If one candidate wins an absolute majority (50 percent) of first-choice votes, then they are automatically elected to the House.

If that is not the case, then the votes are distributed according to the rankings to calculate which candidate was most preferred by voters (based on how they were ranked by all the voters).

That's how politicians are elected to the House, after which they elect the prime minister by having at least 76 votes in support of the latter.

As of now, the coalition government of the Liberal Party and the National Party of Australia holds 76 seats in the House of Representatives.

The Labor Party has 68 seats, and the remaining other seats were won by smaller parties and independent candidates.


The Two Main Candidates

Prime Minister Scott Morrison in 2019 won the election against public expectations.

Now, however, the momentum is against him. His COVID-19 policies in particular have made him very unpopular as many Australians were prohibited from flying in or out of the country.

Some of the strictest lockdowns in the world were imposed on the highly populated and vibrant capital cities of states.

The Morrison government's policies in response to the recent natural disasters, including the 2022 Queensland floods and the 2019–20 Australian bushfire season, have also been heavily criticised.

Morrison was on holiday in Hawaii when the bushfires were at their worst.

His handling of foreign policy has also been been a source of worry. Issues include how the AUKUS deal was handled, and how the Solomon Islands signed a military pact with China under its very nose.

He also may have an attitude problem. He has said it himself, saying that he can be "a bit of a bulldozer" and that while he may not be well-liked, his popularity "doesn't matter" to him.

Then there is Labor leader Anthony Albanese, who maintained a lead over Morrison in the pre-election opinion polls even two weeks before general election.

That is quite impressive for someone who, after one day after the election dates were announced, did not know the what the interest and unemployment rates in the country were at the time.

Reporters had asked him about the same, and he had replied,"the national unemployment rate at the moment is, I think, it’s five point … four … sorry, I’m not sure what it is," reported The Guardian.

The correct answer was 4 percent.

Nevertheless, Albanese has depicted himself as a more down-to-earth candidate than "bulldozer" Morrison.

He has been an MP for 25 years and was the the minister for infrastructure and transport in the 2007 Labor government.

Albanese was chosen in 2019 as the leader of the Labor Party. He has been a vociferous leader of the left faction, and in his current campaign, his main policies include more government funding for elderly care, schemes that takes care of low-income homebuyers, raising wages, and a crackdown on tax evasion, and stronger policies on climate change.


Key Poll Issues: Climate, Prices, Women's Safety, China

The most heated issue for this election (pun intended) is climate change.

Australia is one of the world's largest polluters and is stuck in the conundrum of cutting greenhouse emissions while ensuring that jobs in the mining industry are not lost, not least because that sector constitutes a large percentage of the economy.

According to a majority of polls, most Australians want a cut in emissions, as reported by Bloomberg.

A Vote Compass survey recently showed that the Australian public is not too willing to spend more of their own money to tackle climate change.

Additionally, the country has recently witnessed some its worst-ever bushfires and floods, making climate change an even more important issue.

The economy is doing fine for now. It is projected to grow a further 4.25 percent this year after the pandemic-induced lockdowns were gradually removed.

The unemployment rate has fallen to 4 percent, which is the lowest since 2008.

The high costs, however, of fuel, electricity and other goods, according to the local Australian newspapers, are hurting voters' pockets.

Societal inequality is a problem. According to a Bloomberg estimate, the wealth of around the top 20 percent is approximately 90 times than that of the lowest 20 percent. A stagnancy in wage growth is also expected.

Women's safety is a huge deal in this election.

According to recent numbers from the Australian Bureau of Statistics, almost one in every three women in the country have survived physical violence, and nearly one in five have survived sexual violence.

"It is a serious problem. Not a crisis, but more of an ongoing gender power problem in Australian culture," Associate Prof Ruth Phillips of the University of Sydney told the BBC.

Finally, there is the elephant in the room – China.

The security pact that the Xi Jinping regime signed with the Solomon Islands has led the opposition to accuse the Morrison regime of being weak in the face of Chinese expansionism.

The Labor Party has stated that it is the "worst failure of Australian foreign policy in the Pacific" in eight decades.

(With inputs from The Guardian, the BBC, Bloomberg, the Australian, and The Age.)

(At The Quint, we are answerable only to our audience. Play an active role in shaping our journalism by becoming a member. Because the truth is worth it.)

Read Latest News and Breaking News at The Quint, browse for more from news and world

Edited By :Saundarya Talwar
Speaking truth to power requires allies like you.
Become a Member
3 months
12 months
12 months
Check Member Benefits
Read More