Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison urges voters to opt for what they know

When Scott Morrison became Prime Minister of Australia in 2018, he was so little known that when he went to shake hands with a football fan, the confused man asked: “What is your name, then?”

After nearly four years at the helm, this time Morrison’s speech to voters is that he and his conservative coalition are the known quantities in a world filled with economic and geopolitical uncertainty. Australia continues to contend with its exit from the pandemic, the fallout from the war in Ukraine and China’s invasion of the region.

“It is a choice between a strong future and an uncertain one. It’s a choice between a government you know and a Labor opposition you don’t know, ”she said in April as she called the elections. “Now is not the time to take risks.”

Mr. Morrison, who won a surprise victory in the country’s last federal election three years ago, is the only prime minister in 15 years to serve a full term. But his tenure was not always smooth, with moments that tested the Australian public’s confidence in his leadership and scandals that shook his administration.

The greatest and perhaps the most enduring of those moments came at the beginning of his tenure, when he and his family flew to Hawaii as devastating bushfires raged in Australia in late 2019. His ambiguous explanation during a radio interview – “I don’t keep a pipe, man” – has become emblematic of what many have criticized as his government’s inadequate response and reluctance to take climate change seriously as a factor in the disaster.

Part of that public trust was regained with the first success of his administration curb the Covid-19 pandemic. Rapid border closures and aggressive political measures have spared Australia the levels of deaths and hospitalizations experienced by other countries. But that of the government delays in purchasing vaccines and Mr. Morrison’s remarks that securing jabs “wasn’t a match” devoured that confidence that had been restored.

In the final days of the campaign, Morrison acknowledged that his leadership style had alienated some Australians, saying he could be “a bit of a bulldozer”. But he said his approach to him had been needed in the last few years and vowed to change.

His challenger, Anthony Albanese, said Mr. Morrison shouldn’t be given another chance: “A bulldozer destroys things, a bulldozer drops things. I am a builder “.

Mr. Morrison, who is the son of a police officer and raised in a Sydney seaside suburb, is a devout Pentecostal, a first in largely secular Australian politics. He worked as a marketing executive on tourism campaigns promoting Australia before being elected to Parliament in 2007.

He emerged in the wider national consciousness in 2013 as immigration minister, when he took a tough approach to enforcing Australia’s “Stop the Boats” policy, aimed at prevent asylum seekers from reaching the coasts of the country. After a stint as social services minister and treasurer, he became what some have called the “accidental” prime minister when he was the last one standing during an internal party uprising.

In 2019, Mr. Morrison, 54, ran for his first full term as prime minister, portraying himself as an ordinary man, a suburban dad who loves rugby – “ScoMo,” as he liked to call himself. He looked as stunned as anyone else when his center-right coalition won, calling it a “miracle”.

“It was a successful piece of personal marketing in 2019,” said Frank Bongiorno, a history professor at Australian National University.

But this time around, he can no longer rely on personal branding. Mr. Morrison has to come to terms with his background and there is growing disillusionment with his government’s handling of urgent matters such as climate changethe treatment of women Other corruptionMr Bongiorno said.

“There is a sense that it may be time for a change, and that is reflected in the polls right now,” he said.

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