Hardline conservative Peter Dutton elected Aus oppn leader

Hardline conservative Peter Dutton was on Monday elected as the new Australian opposition leader.

Dutton, 51, was officially elected unopposed to lead the centre right Liberal Party, replacing former Prime Minister Scott Morrison who resigned following defeat in the general election held on May 21, reports Xinhua news gency.

A hardline conservative, Dutton served as the Minister for Home Affairs and Minister for Defence under Morrison.

Prior to entering Parliament in 2001, he worked as a police officer in his home state of Queensland.

He became the leading candidate to replace Morrison after former Treasurer Josh Frydenberg, Morrison’s deputy and the most prominent candidate in the Liberals’ moderate faction, lost his seat in Parliament in the election.

Dutton said on Monday that Liberal policies under his leadership would be true to its values.

“Our policies will be squarely aimed at the forgotten Australians in the suburbs across Australia,” he told reporters in Canberra.

“I want our country to support aspiration and reward hard work, take proper care of those Australians who, short-term or long-term, can’t take care of themselves,” he said.

Sussan Ley, the former Minister for the Environment, was elected as Dutton’s deputy.

The duo inherit a party still reeling from the May 21 election.

The Coalition, which is made up of the Liberal Party and National Party, has been left with less than 60 seats out of 151 seats in the lower house of the parliament, down from 75 prior to the election.

It experienced a collapse in its vote in metropolitan areas, particularly among women, at the election, with many voters abandoning the party over its climate policies.

“We know that we didn’t receive the support of all women at the last election and my message to the women of Australia is we hear you,” Ley said on Monday.

“We’re listening, we’re talking and we are determined to earn back your trust and your faith.”




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