It’s a day that will go down in history. The chattering class called it the unwinnable election. All the major polls, pundits and papers were unanimous: Labor was certain to take power. Even Sportsbet picked the wrong side, paid punters out early, and lost $5.2m for their troubles.
But by 10pm Saturday night, a nation in shock realised that ScoMo, against the odds, had won Australia’s trust as Prime Minister for another three years.
As a Christian, I can’t fully endorse the Liberals. Like any party, they don’t represent all of my concerns in Canberra. But I am excited to have a spirit-filled PM, and I believe his re-election spells a crisis averted—not just for Christians, but for Australia.
In the aftermath, the question on everyone’s lips is how did he do it? How did Scott Morrison snatch victory from the jaws of defeat while no one was paying attention?
Australians Love Freedom and Family
Some will say Australia voted for ScoMo’s economic credentials. The more cynical have suggested that a vote for the Libs was a vote against the environment, justice and generosity. But that’s not my summary of Saturday. I’m convinced that Australians love freedom and family.
It’s unusual to see major parties campaign around issues like abortion or freedom of religion at election time. But this year, both were in the spotlight.
The Labor party had pledged to make abortion free and available to full term right around the country, and they’d even threatened to defund hospitals that refused to play ball.
And late last year, you might have missed it, but there was a big tussle between the major parties about religious freedom. Labor tried to change the Sex Discrimination Act so that any religious school or place of worship could be taken to court simply for teaching what they always have about marriage.
In response, ScoMo promised that if he was re-elected, he’d introduce a Religious Discrimination Act to protect Aussies of faith from this radical overreach.
But Labor doubled down, setting themselves against religious schools again, hoping to take away the right of schools to choose staff who will teach their values.
To top it all off, over the last month, Rugby Australia conducted a witch-hunt against Israel Folau, ultimately sacking him from the Wallabies and destroying his career, simply for quoting a Bible verse in private time on his social media account. All of this played out—in the providence of God, perhaps—in the days and weeks leading up to the election.
It was all too much. Australians couldn’t stomach it, and they had their say on Saturday.
The Left Weren’t Listening
We saw it first with Trump and Brexit, and now we’ve seen it with ScoMo. The mainstream media, all the major institutions, and the loudest voices online—most of which lean left—had convinced themselves of their own viewpoint, assuming they’d convinced the whole country.
So much so that anyone with a conservative viewpoint felt they had no permission to speak up. And so the ‘quiet Australians’ spoke up in the only place they felt they could and the only place it really mattered: at the election booth.
People don’t like being told what to think. Hillary Clinton’s ‘basket of deplorables’ hated it in 2016 and they let her know about it by voting in Trump.
So now is the time for those on the further reaches of the left to lean in and listen. Why did so many back ScoMo? What were the reasons beneath their reasons? Can you find any sympathy with their perspective?
And for all of us: What does respectful conversation between the left and right look like? And now that it’s all over, how can we find common ground to advance Australia fair?
Now is also the time for conservatives not to gloat, but to show the kind of humility we’d all expect from the left if the tables were turned.
An Unprecedented Prayer Movement
Scott Morrison began his victory speech with “I’ve always believed in miracles!” His election was, even by mainstream accounts, an absolute miracle. The word ‘miracle’ has come to define this election.
But few probably realise the amount of prayer that was sent up for this miracle. Back in March, former tennis-great-turned-pastor Margaret Court awoke at 4am, convinced that God was calling the churches of Australia to rise up and pray for Scott Morrison’s re-election.
The response was overwhelming. Warwick Marsh, who helped spearhead the movement, said,
“I have never seen so much prayer and fasting go up in a three week period in my whole life. Totally extraordinary!
“I have never seen senior church leaders push prayer so much either. The united push… by church leaders, large denominations, Christian educational groups and Christian activists groups and individuals was the greatest I have ever seen.”
As Margaret Court herself pointed out,
“Throughout the Bible, prayer and fasting have impacted the course of history and adjusted the spiritual course of nations.”
Looking at the headlines Sunday morning, it’s hard to deny that something truly remarkable has taken place. Christians uniting across all denominations have played a significant role in the weekend result.
With all that could be said about Saturday and its implications for the next three years, it’s reassuring that believers of every political persuasion can still find unity in the promises of God.
“Do not put your trust in princes,
in human beings, who cannot save.” Psalm 146:3
“Some trust in chariots and some in horses,
but we trust in the name of the Lord our God.” Psalm 20:7
God bless Australia.