He may have won the ‘unwinnable’ election in 2019, but voters deserted Scott Morrison on Saturday.
Independents and Greens candidates snatched votes from both major parties and caused upsets across the nation as Aussies look to send a pointed message to both Mr Morrison and incumbent Prime Minister Anthony Albanese.
Initial estimates suggested Labor would need to form government with the Greens, but as votes are counted it has become clear Mr Albanese will win a majority.
Here’s why Mr Morrison lost the election.
He may have won the ‘unwinnable’ election in 2019, but voters have deserted Scott Morrison in the 2022 federal election
Three years of mistakes and blame shifting
The prime minister has suffered more than 30 errors, gaffes and embarrassing moments since gaining power in 2019.
He famously slipped out of the country to holiday in Hawaii with his wife and daughters in the midst of the 2019-2020 bushfire crisis.
I don’t hold a hose, mate
Scott Morrison on the 2019-2020 bushfires
His office repeatedly denied he was overseas before it was finally confirmed he’d left the country while it was burning the week before Christmas.
Social media pictures emerged of him posing for selfies with beer-swilling holidaymakers and relaxing with his wife Jenny at their Hawaiian hotel.
In an interview with 2GB’s John Stanley, while still in Hawaii, he notoriously said: ‘I don’t hold a hose, mate’ to justify the trip.
Mr Morrison’s most famous debacle was sneaking out of the country to holiday with his family in Hawaii in the midst of the 2019-20 bushfires crisis
While Mr Morrison likes to now take credit for ‘saving the country’ during the Covid pandemic, he copped flak for several major mistakes during the crisis.
After effectively shutting down the entire nation to keep Covid out, Mr Morrison famously said the vaccine rollout was ‘not a race’.
This would prove costly just months later when the Delta variant plunged most of the country back into lockdown.
He faced constant criticism for failing to order enough vaccines, stunting the rollout and forcing Aussies into longer lockdowns.
The PM later apologised for the slow motion vaccine rollout, saying: ‘I’m certainly sorry we haven’t been able to achieve the marks that we hoped for at the beginning of this year.’
Mr Morrison proved to simply be unlikeable.
His moniker, ScoMo, slowly morphed to Smirko after countless press conferences and PR stunts in which he’d deflect, pass blame or ignore any issues raised.
Even among other global leaders, Mr Morrison made few friends.
Diplomatic tensions between Australia and France escalated since Mr Morrison pulled out of a $90 billion deal with France to manufacture its next generation of submarines.
Hours after the pair shared an awkward exchange at the G20 Summit in Rome in October 2021, the French President made his feelings known about Mr Morrison during a fiery exchange with Australian journalists.
‘I have a lot of respect for your country, a lot of respect and friendship for your people. I just say when we have respect, you have to be true and you have to behave in line and consistent with this value.
The French president was asked if the Australian prime minister had lied.
‘I don’t think, I know,’ President Macron said.
On January 31 he rubbed people the wrong way yet again when he was caught unable to recall the price of a loaf of bread.
Mr Morrison’s advisors texted him the answers but the Prime Minister didn’t even try to list the prices, instead saying: ‘Now, I’m not going to pretend to you that I go out each day and I buy a loaf of bread and I buy a litre of milk.
‘I’m not going to pretend to you that I do that… But the point is that I do my job every day to ensure that those things are affordable as they possibly can be for Australians every single day.’
Spike in natural disasters
After his trip to Hawaii, Mr Morrison was widely criticised for forcing himself upon fire-affected residents on the NSW south coast.
When he finally visited the region, he was caught on camera forcing furious locals to shake his hand and trying to tee up photo-ops.
He also made a trip to fire-ravaged Kangaroo Island just days after two people died, telling locals: ‘Thankfully we’ve had no loss of life.’
The fires were followed by Covid and then several bouts of fatal floods along the east coast of Australia.
Historic rainfall battered south-east Queensland and northern NSW in February and March, which led to the worst flooding in 50 years in Lismore and surrounds.
Historic rainfall battered south-east Queensland and northern NSW in February and March, which led to the worst flooding in 50 years in Lismore and surrounds. Pictured: The floods swallowing a McDonald’s
Mr Morrison was slammed for excluding certain flood-ravaged suburbs from his $1,000 relief payments.
Two months on from announcing the financial support, just seven per cent of the $1.6 billion set aside for flood impacted communities had been handed out.
The slew of natural disasters across Australia could have contributed to the swing in favour of the Greens, who have campaigned for better climate policies.
The party won the seats of Griffith and Ryan, both in Brisbane, with candidates Max Chandler-Mather and Elizabeth Watson-Brown seizing seats from the Labor and the Liberal National party respectively.
Greens leader Adam Bandt will also retain his seat of Melbourne as his party gears up for its best result in recent memory.
A kangaroo rushes past a burning house in the NSW town of Lake Conjola on New Year’s Eve 2019
The Greens have proven to be huge winners so far in tonight’s election – snatching votes from both major parties to cause upsets across the board
Interest rate hike during election campaign
Mr Morrison rejected suggestions earlier this month a recent interest rate hike would hurt him on polling day, but it appears he may have been mistaken.
Australia’s inflation rate hit a 21-year high of 5.1 per cent this month, prompting the Reserve Bank to increase interest rates to 0.35 per cent, pushing up mortgage payments by an average of $80 a month with further rises expected.
It marked the first rate rise during an election campaign since November 2007, when former PM John Howard lost power.
Asked if rising rates could damage the Coalition’s chances at the federal election on May 21, Mr Morrison accused journalists of looking through a ‘totally political lens’.
‘I don’t. And Australians don’t,’ he said.
‘Australians are focused on what they are paying for and who they think is going to be best able to manage an economy and manage the finances, so they are in the best possible position to realise their aspirations.’
Disdain from his allies
It isn’t just the general public and world leaders who have taken issue with Mr Morrison.
Leaked text exchanges revealed the PM was not held in the highest esteem by even senior members of his cabinet and close allies.
‘He is a hypocrite and a liar
Barnaby Joyce on Scott Morrison
Former NSW premier Gladys Berejiklian raged about Mr Morrison undermining her about whose fault the 2019-20 bushfire disaster was.
‘Morrison is a horrible horrible person. He is actively spreading lies and briefing against me re fires,’ she wrote followed by a red-faced angry emoji.
The politician on the other end is even more scathing in reply, calling the PM a self-obsessed ‘psycho’.
The text message exchange between Gladys Berejiklian and an unnamed politician calling Mr Morrison a ‘fraud’
The leader of the National Party sent the message about Scott Morrison in March last year and said he was sorry on Thursday
‘Morrison is about Morrison. Complete psycho. He is desperate and jealous. The mob have worked him out and think he is a fraud.’
Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce sent another message to Brittany Higgins while he was a backbencher after he was briefly unseated as party leader.
The text was sent through a third party as Mr Joyce did not have Ms Higgins’ number.
‘Tell BH, I and Scott, he is Scott to me until I have to recognise his office, don’t get along,’ it read.
‘He is a hypocrite and a liar from my observations, and that is over a long time. I have never trusted him and I dislike how he earnestly rearranges the truth to a lie.’
He lost the women’s vote
Mr Morrison lost the women’s vote after making controversial comments about protests and sparking concerns about his lack of empathy.
He famously said it was Jenny who encouraged him to have empathy for young staffer Brittany Higgins after she alleged she was raped in a parliamentary office.
She told him to hear the allegations again through the lens of a father with two daughters.
Ms Higgins said later: ‘I didn’t want his sympathy as a father, I wanted him to use his power as prime minister. I wanted him to wield the weight of his office and drive change in the party and our parliament, and out into the country.’
The outgoing PM refused to instigate an independent inquiry into Ms Higgins’s claims or address a women’s March 4 Justice rally outside Parliament.
Mr Morrison was criticised for saying that it needed his wife Jenny’s explanation for him to properly address allegations former staffer Brittany Higgins (pictured) was raped in Parliament House
He sparked more fury when he said: ‘Not far from here, such marches, even now, are being met with bullets.’
Former Australian of the Year Grace Tame has used her platform to repeatedly shine a light on Mr Morrison’s subpar history with women.
Several politicians within his cabinet were accused of bad behaviour – from allegations of sexual abuse to extramarital affairs – over his three year tenure.
The likes of influencer Abbie Chatfield and young, educated and outspoken women discussing their political allegiances and grievances with Mr Morrison has also sparked a new wave of politically conscious voters.
Young voters who may have otherwise followed their parents into a Liberal vote have learned from one another and from accessible social media discussions, where rhetoric toward Mr Morrison has largely not been kind.
Grace Tame refused to smile while taking a picture with the Mr Morrison giving the outgoing prime minister the now-famous side-eye (pictured)
Former Foreign Minister Julie Bishop said women had sent a strong message to Mr Morrison and the Liberal party.
Seeing female, independent candidates likely to replace MPs in formerly strong Liberal seats sent a powerful message, Ms Bishop said.
‘We have not mentioned at this point the impact of Grace Tame and Brittany Higgins, they changed the narrative when they exposed an ugly side to the workplace in Canberra,’ Ms Bishop said.
‘That resonated with women.’
Former Labor minister Kate Ellis agreed, noting Australian women ‘are angry’.
‘I would send a message to all the men in the parliament as well: it is your job to advocate for the women out there who are struggling,’ she said.
‘Australian women are angry and we don’t just want to change the government, change the prime minister, we want to change the agenda and the outcomes and that work will be ongoing no matter who is in government.’
Picking fights with ultra popular Mark McGowan
WA was always expected to swing towards Labor but the size of the projected victories are beyond even the most optimistic predictions.
Mr Morrison’s popularity nosedived in the staunchly independent state during the pandemic as Labor Premier Mark McGowan’s skyrocketed.
The prime minister and Mr McGowan regularly bickered over WA’s hard border with the eastern states for most of the two-years of the pandemic.
For months at a time the border was closed to every other state and territory in Australia and Mr Morrison’s protests only hardened their resolve.
The PM even called WA locals ‘cave people’ for hiding behind the border wall in pursuit of a ‘zero-Covid’ policy.
Scott Morrison (right with WA premier Mark McGowan in Perth) made a desperate U-turn in recent months, retrospectively supporting the hard border and praising his former enemy
Attempting to win an historic fourth term
Finally – and a factor entirely out of Scott Morrison’s control – is that he was aiming to achieve an historic fourth term in power for the Liberal party.
Throughout the coverage of the election on Channel 7, Attorney-General of Australia Michaelia Cash repeatedly noted how a win for the Liberals would have been groundbreaking after three terms.
A government has won four consecutive terms just four times in Australian history.
Mr Morrison was the first prime minister since John Howard to fulfill his entire term after several leaders from both Liberal and Labor were ousted from the top job.