Friday, September 13, 2013

Conservative Opposition Surges to Landslide Victory in Australian Federal Elections

A coalition of right-of-center parties handed the Labour party their worst defeat since the 1930s in last week's Federal elections in Australia. The defeat came only a few weeks after former PM Kevin Rudd ousted Julia Gillard as head of the Labour party and replaced her as Prime Minister. Gillard had originally called for the elections to take place in mid-September, but the date was moved up by a few weeks once she was ousted.

Tony Abbott of Australian Liberal Party [which would be more along the lines of 'classic liberalism' by US standards- NANESB!] will be sworn in as Australia's newest Prime Minister this week after coalition of Australia's Liberal and National parties had formed a coalition. Abbott campaigned on a number of hot-button issues including repealing the unpopular carbon tax and turning back 'boat people'- asylum seekers and illegal immigrants reaching Australia by boat in the hopes of being granted asylum upon arrival in Australia- at sea and processing them offshore.

Abbott stated this week that his first order of business will be to scrap the carbon tax, although remaining members of Australia's Labour party in parliament have vowed to fight such a move by the new government. The carbon tax was implemented by then PM Julia Gillard last year and faced considerable opposition from Australian mining firms, steelmakers and airlines as well as the public.

A campaign proposal by Abbott to pay Indonesian nationals bounties for information leading to human traffickers was also sharply rebuked by Indonesia's foreign minister this week. The two governments are expected to discuss the boat people issue in-depth during a summit next month.

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