Australia poll result divides the nation

Voters in Queensland state were a major target of anger for their overwhelming support of the conservative Liberal/National coalition. PHOTO: REUTERS

The result of Saturday's (May 18) election in Australia triggered rage and disgust for those hoping for a change of government deemed fairer and kinder to the environment. Many took to social media on Saturday to express disbelief in the opposition Labor Party's failure to win office after an election in which climate change was a major issue.

Voters in Queensland state were a major target of anger for their overwhelming support of the conservative Liberal/National coalition, which has faced intense criticism in Australia for its pro-mining and weak climate change policies. Queensland is a major coal producer and also home to the Great Barrier Reef.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison was criticised for running a deeply negative scare campaign against Labor leader Bill Shorten, saying his tax and climate plans would cost the economy hundreds of billions of dollars.

"The people have spoken. Negative wins. #ausvote19," tweeted Craig Reucassel, an Australian television and radio comedian.

"Queenland. When your Barrier Reef is dead, when your state is smashed by increasing temperatures and more savage cyclones; when your workforce is suffering because the rest of the world has stopped buying your coal and gas ... We will remember #AUSVote19", tweeted @croydoncathy.

@gacd86 tweeted: "I watched Tony Abbott get elected PM, I'm watching Scott Morrison get elected PM... and you want me to still have hope in this country? Maybe one day. But definitely not tonight... or anytime soon."

Others, though, were more supportive.

"Thank u Aus Thank u Qld! Labor lost because they asked ppl to choose between security, prosperity & the environment, we are smart enough to achieve them all, no 'us & them' sadly Shorten is myopic @ScottMorrisonMP you are a legend," Tweeted @Rojosi.

Former prime minister Julia Gillard tweeted support for Bill Shorten: "A courageous concession speech from @billshortenmp. He and the entire @AustralianLabor team can be extremely proud of a campaign that put the ALP values of fairness and equality front and centre. I'm certainly proud of all of you."

Liberal/National Coalition member Peter Dutton, whose failed bid to become prime minister toppled Malcolm Turnbull, claimed victory in his Queensland seat of Dickson. He told the media Queenslanders "had their baseball bats out for Bill Shorten".

"Queenslanders can call out a phony - and they have.

"People didn't want Bill Shorten as prime minister of this country, and they've spoken tonight and in Queensland I think we've delivered in magnificent form."

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