Many Australia election analysts were stunned Saturday when Scott Morrison, Australia’s conservative prime minister, claimed victory in the country’s federal elections.
Experts had been predicting Morrison’s defeat for the last two years. But Morrison defied opinion polls by defeating Bill Shorten, leader of the center-left Labor Party.
“I have always believed in miracles,” Morrison said in his acceptance speech. “Tonight is about every single Australian who depends on their government to put them first. And that’s exactly what we are going to do.”
“Congratulations to Australia’s Prime Minister Scott Morrison for winning the election there in what is being called a surprise victory!” Franklin Graham posted on his Facebook page. “Prime Minister Morrison even called it a miracle! He’s a believer, a follower of Jesus Christ—and Australia is blessed to have him.
“There’s no question—I believe in miracles! And I believe God will use this man to help bring Australia prosperity and strength. I know he would appreciate your prayers.”
For many Australian voters, religious liberty was at the forefront of their minds as they went to the polls. Ahead of the election, Christian leaders wrote to Morrison and Shorten, calling them to protect religious beliefs. Shorten did not respond.
According to the Sydney Morning Herald, Morrison said in a response on May 14 that he believes “there is no more fundamental right than the right to decide what you believe or do not believe.
“That means Australians of faith should be free to hold and practice that faith without fear of discrimination against them,” Morrison added. “And that is why my government is committed to providing Australians of religious belief with protections equivalent to those guaranteed in relation to other protected attributes under Commonwealth anti-discrimination law.”
“The result is astonishing, and totally unpredicted,” said Martyn Iles, managing director of the Australian Christian Lobby. “But among our 140,000+ supporters, I have seen more Christians committed to prayer over this election than any other in living memory. Their concerns about religious freedom were so strong. By praying and acting, we have seen a win for religious freedom.”
Morrison credits his win to “the quiet Australians” who voted for his Liberal-National Coalition. “It has been those Australians who have worked hard every day,” he said. “They have their aspirations, to get a job, to get an apprenticeship, to start a business, to meet someone amazing, to start a family, to buy a home, to work hard and provide the best you can for your kids. To save for your retirement. These are the quiet Australians who have won a great victory tonight.”
In Australia, voting is compulsory, with anyone over the age of 18 facing a $14 fine if he or she fails to vote. As a result, 95 percent of Australians cast ballots in the last election.