Australian women unleash new political force on climate, integrity
SYDNEY, May 22 (Reuters) – Professional women and voters concerned about climate change unleashed a third force in Australia’s election, taking a swath of seats that ended nine years of conservative rule even as votes for the winning Labor Party fell.
Women who left successful careers in business, medicine and media to enter politics as independents were on track to win five seats from Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s Liberal party in its affluent urban heartland in Saturday’s general election, as moderate voters abandoned the government.
Independents or the minor Greens party looked set to win at least 15 of the 151 lower house seats, ABC election analysts said. Labor remained five seats short of the 76 seats it needs to form a government as counting continued on Sunday.
Personifying the disruptive change were centrists, mostly women, dubbed “teal” candidates because of teal-coloured marketing material used as they targeted seats held by Morrison’s conservative party.
“You seldom see this in Australian politics – a campaign that springs up and catches fire,” said Simon Jackman, a University of Sydney professor, referring to teal community campaigns run by women volunteers.