Federal election: How Scott Morrison went from miracle man to former PM
The stage was set on Saturday night for Scott Morrison to hail another “miracle” — instead he delivered his final speech as Prime Minister and Liberal Party leader.
In the heart of the Sydney CBD, where the Coalition was losing support to the teal independents, Liberal faithful gathered for what was the end of a nine-year reign in power.
Early counting showed swings towards teal independents — indicating Australians were losing faith in the two major parties.
However, Labor’s victory to form the next government came after the Liberal Party lost four WA seats to the ALP — Pearce, Swan, Hasluck and Tangney.
“I have spoken to the Leader of the Opposition and the incoming Prime Minister, Anthony Albanese. And I’ve congratulated him on his election victory,” Mr Morrison said in his concession speech, where he announced he would be stepping aside as Liberal leader.
“It’s been a night of disappointment... but three years from now, I’m looking forward to the return of a Coalition Government.”
The moment that the Coalition would not hold a majority government was at 9.15pm AEST when the giant screens in Liberal headquarters were switched on.
The room fell silent as Sky News made the prediction.
Within 30 minutes, Sky News confidently called Anthony Albanese as Australia’s 31st Prime Minister and the volume of the screens were turned down.
There were lots of concerned faces among the 300 party faithful, who were holding their phones as results rolled in.
One of them was Philip Ruddock, a Liberal Party statesman, and another was former Prime Minister John Howard.
The attention turned back to the screens when Treasurer Josh Frydenberg conceded it would be difficult to win his Melbourne seat of Kooyong.
One woman in Liberal HQ in Sydney was seen wiping the tears from her eyes.
“Earlier today, as we were heading to the voting booth, Blake said to me, he said, ‘Dad, a girl at school,’ and don’t forget, he’s in prep, ‘a girl at school says her mum is more important than you’,” Mr Frydenberg, who aimed to be the country’s future leader, said.
“To which Amie replied, ‘Blake, all mums are important’. And Amie has been the most extraordinary mum, and maybe after tonight I get a bit more time to try and be the most extraordinary dad.”
Before the count was finalised, Attorney-General Michaelia Cash, the Liberal Party’s most senior politician in WA, said Mr Morrison would not be blamed for the defeat.
“We are seeking an historic fourth term in government . . . there are only three others who have ever achieved that,” Ms Cash said.
“The mere fact we were competitive in this race is because of Scott Morrison.
“He has been an outstanding Prime Minister on any analysis. When you look at where we were two years ago, where we are today, I mean the 3.9 per cent amount of more Australians in jobs.”
Get the latest news from thewest.com.au in your inbox.
Sign up for our emails