[Ed. – “Center” left ran on climate change, which apparently resonated not at all. Note: the result is “surprising” to those who were going by media interpretation of the pre-election polling.]
Australia’s conservative government eked out a surprise victory in Saturday’s national elections after voters in resource-rich districts turned against center-left opponents who had put climate change at the heart of their campaign.
Behind in polls for more than two years, Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s Liberal-National coalition appealed to voters in battleground states such as Queensland, struggling at the end of a long mining boom, with a campaign focused on the economy and jobs.
With 71% of votes counted, the conservatives were hopeful of gaining a narrow majority in Parliament’s 151-seat House of Representatives, or possibly governing in minority with the support of conservative-leaning independents. Political experts predicted the government would likely win around 77 seats.
“I have always believed in miracles,” Mr. Morrison, a devout Christian, said in a speech to jubilant supporters gathered at a Sydney hotel after midnight local time. “Our government will come together after this night and we will get back to work.”