As Australians prepare to vote in federal elections on May 21, in this episode of The Conversation Weekly podcast, we explore how the country’s political landscape is shifting – and why the writing may be on the wall for Prime Minister Scott Morrison.
Scott Morrison of Australia’s centre-right Liberal Party is up for reelection for the second time since he became prime minister in 2018. His main challenger is Anthony Albanese of the centre-left Labor Party, which leads going into the election – although the polls have narrowed in the final stages.
But the Liberals are also facing a new challenge from a group of independent candidates, known as teal independents because of the colour of their campaign materials. Many of these teal candidates are supported by a fund called Climate 200 pressuring for more action on climate change.
Michelle Grattan, political correspondent for The Conversation in Australia and a professorial fellow at the University of Canberra, says this challenge could potentially shake up the political landscape. “They’re running in these traditionally solid Liberal, city seats and they’re really pressing the incumbents in those seats hard in terms of votes,” says Grattan, who is one of Australia’s most respected political journalists and has been a member of the Canberra parliamentary press gallery for more than 40 years.
And yet Grattan says that, despite severe flooding in eastern Australia in recent months, neither of the two main parties have focused on climate change. “We haven’t seen as much discussion of it as we might have expected,” she says, even though “for many voters, surveys show climate change is a really important issue”.
Listen to the full interview on The Conversation Weekly podcast to find out what’s at stake in the Australian election. And stay tuned to the Politics with Michelle Grattan podcast for full discussion of the results.
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This episode was produced by Gemma Ware and Mend Mariwany, with sound design by Eloise Stevens. Our theme music is by Neeta Sarl. You can find us on Twitter @TC_Audio, on Instagram at theconversationdotcom or via email. You can also sign up to The Conversation’s free daily email here.
Newsclips in this episode are from BBC News, Sky News Australia, ABC News (Australia), SBS News, 9 News Australia, DW News, Guardian Australia, 7NEWS Australia and CNA.
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Michelle Grattan does not work for, consult, own shares in or receive funding from any company or organization that would benefit from this article, and has disclosed no relevant affiliations beyond their academic appointment.