MELBOURNE/SYDNEY (Reuters) – Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison thanked his fellow Pentecostal churchgoers on Sunday after a miraculous election victory that defied years of unfavourable opinion polls and bruised a Labor opposition that had been widely expected to win.
Australian PM heads to church, football after ‘miracle’ election win – Reuters
Morrison’s Liberal-led conservative coalition has won or is leading in 76 seats, the number needed to form a majority government, according to the Australian Electoral Commission. A little more than three-quarters of the roughly 17 million votes cast in the Saturday polls have been counted.
Morrison told raucous supporters late on Saturday, who had earlier seemed resigned to defeat, that he had always believed in miracles.
The result drew comparisons with Republican Donald Trump’s victory over Democratic rival Hillary Clinton in the 2016 U.S. presidential election.
Trump and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu were among the first world leaders to congratulate Morrison.
“Congratulations to Scott on a GREAT WIN,” Trump said on Twitter before calling the Australian leader..
Jacinda Ardern, the progressive prime minister of neighbouring New Zealand, also called to congratulate him, saying that Morrison “understands us”.
Opinion polls in Australia had all pointed to a Labor victory. So strong was the expectation the government would fall that one betting agency even paid out bets on a Labor win days before the election.
Morrison, who emerged as an unlikely leader after Liberal party infighting last year, cast himself as the candidate who would work for aspirational voters and the tactic seemed to strike a chord.
New Zealand police probing the online presence of the Australian white supremacist charged with killing 50 in a terror attack on mosques are being met with resistance from some websites.
Investigators have been looking into 28-year-old Brenton Tarrant’s involvement in far-right chat boards and other internet activity since the attack in Christchurch on Friday.
In one email exchange New Zealand police requested an American-based website preserve the emails and IP addresses linked to a number of posts about the attack, but were met with an expletive-filled reply.
In a reply posted on the site, its founder described the request as “a joke” before calling New Zealand as a “s***hole country” and an “irrelevant island nation”.
Police in a statement confirmed they had contacted the site, but would not comment further.
Tarrant posted a rambling 74-page “manifesto” online and foreshadowed the shootings on at least one other controversial forum popular among alt-right groups.
He also live-streamed the attack, with Facebook saying it had taken down 1.5 million videos in 24 hours as authorities scrambled to stop its spread.
Facebook said the original video on its service, a live broadcast of a gunman firing in and around a mosque, was seen fewer than 200 times.
An archived copy drew about 3800 additional views on Facebook before the company removed it, Facebook said in a blog post on Monday
Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison has written to global asking them to crack down on social media companies that broadcast terrorist attacks.
The Global Internet Forum to Counter Terrorism – a consortium of global technology firms including Facebook, Google and Twitter – said it shared the digital “fingerprints” of more than 800 edited versions of the video.
Earlier this week, an 18-year-old man accused of distributing the live-stream, but who is not connected to the attack, appeared in Christchurch District Court.
The teen – who is also charged with posting a photograph of one of the mosques attacked with the message “target acquired” – was denied bail and could face up to 14 years’ jail if found guilty.