Australian Election Wrap-Up: “Under New Management”

From the Sydney Morning Herald:

“The Coalition has been swept to a convincing election victory in a result that could keep Labor in the political wilderness for a decade, with incoming prime minister Tony Abbott declaring the country is “under new management”.

ALP seats fell across the country on Saturday, ensuring Tony Abbott will be the 28th prime minister of Australia and have a commanding majority, holding up to 90 seats in the 150 seats in the House of Representatives.

Mr Abbott said he would methodically deliver on his promises with a government that accepts it will be judge more by it’s deeds than its word.”

Looks like the polls were correct in their assessment that the Rudd’s Labor government would fall and that Abbott’s Coalition would emerge victorious. However, the result may have been a little bit disappointing for Abbott given the landslide predictions that did not exactly pan out. But a win is a win and the Coalition is probably thrilled nonetheless.

But as much as Mr, Abbott would like to get to work right away on his agenda, the Senate may prove to be strong, if temporary, roadblock. While the Senate elections were held on the same day as those of the House of Representatives, the new Senate does not take office until July of next year. So for another ten months Mr. Abbott must contend with a lame duck body that his party does not control. It will be interesting to see how much he’s able to get done before the new crop of senators took office.

What will this election mean for US-Australia relations? Abbott is a large supporter of the military and he has pledged to increase defense spending to 2% of GDP. While this is much less than what the US spends, it may signal that Australia might be willing to take a more active role on the world stage. It’s probably too little too late for any help on Syria, but when the next crisis comes around we may see an Australia not averse to send troops and materiel to assist with the effort. It remains to be seen, however, how this jives with the Australian electorate. After all, the next election is only three years away.

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