Scott Morrison is banking on another miracle.
In 2019 he pulled off an against-the-odds win, with the Bill Shorten-led Labor team having been long-favoured to unseat his struggling government.
He put the narrow victory down to ‘quiet Australians’ endorsing the Liberal-National coalition’s economic and national security record.
But the evangelical Christian from Cronulla put his stamp on the win by declaring: ‘I have always believed in miracles’.
Scott Morrison is banking on another 2019 election miracle where he pulled off an against-the-odds win, with the Bill Shorten-led Labor team having been long-favoured to unseat his struggling government
‘I’m standing with the three biggest miracles of my life here tonight (his wife and two daughters) and tonight we have been delivered another one.’
Mr Morrison ran Tourism Australia when it launched the controversial ‘Where the bloody hell are you?’ campaign, before his successful stint as state director of the NSW Liberal Party.
He was elected to federal parliament in 2007 for the NSW seat of Cook.
After the defeat of the Labor government in 2013, he rose to prominence by spearheading Operation Sovereign Borders as immigration minister to then-prime minister Tony Abbott.
His hardline stance toward asylum seekers bewildered some observers, given his devout Christian beliefs.
Voters will take to the polls in May for the federal election between Prime Minister Scott Morrison and Labor candidate Anthony Albanese
But he professed a deep belief in the righteousness of crushing the evil people-smuggling trade and preserving the safety of those on board rickety boats.
During a nine-month stint as social services minister, Mr Morrison was also forced to sell the Abbott government’s deeply unpopular 2014 budget, which was laced with a cocktail of deep welfare cuts.
However, he was more pragmatic in the role of treasurer, performing back-flips on a range of unpopular government policies.
Unpopular measures including a Medicare levy hike, superannuation changes and big business tax cuts were cast aside.
Labor has made much out of public perceptions of Mr Morrison’s tendency to say one thing and do another.
Even members of his own team have questioned his integrity, with outgoing NSW Liberal senator Concetta Fierravanti-Wells recently describing him as ‘unfit for office’.
Just days before taking the Liberal leadership in August 2018, Mr Morrison stood in the prime minister’s courtyard and was asked to rule out having any leadership ambitions.
‘This is my leader and I’m ambitious for him,’ he told reporters, throwing his arm around Malcolm Turnbull with a grin.
The prime minister has spent much of the past term dealing with the Covid pandemic, just when the government was getting the budget back in the black.
When the first coronavirus case was confirmed in Melbourne in January 2020 the prime minister was already deep in disaster – dealing with the fallout from criticism over the handling of the bushfire response which became the subject of a royal commission.
He set up the national cabinet to routinely meet with the premiers and put in place a ban on inbound travel, as the states imposed their own strict border controls.
Scott Morrison will represent the Liberal Party in the upcoming federal election against Labor candidate Anthony Albanese
Parliament sat briefly to pass an economic stimulus package before adjourning until August.
In September the impact of the pandemic was made clear with Australia going into recession for the first time in almost 30 years.
Heading into 2021, Mr Morrison’s stocks began to fall and he reshuffled his cabinet with a focus on women’s safety and economic security – seen as a weak point for his government and a counter to media attention on the poor treatment of women in politics.
His foreign policy credentials took a hit when he announced Australia was ditching a $90 billion contract with France to build submarines, instead teaming up with the US and UK for nuclear-powered boats.
The coalition’s standing hit a term-low 46 per cent in two-party terms in late 2021 and has not budged much since.
Mr Morrison’s path to victory depends on voters casting their ballots on May 21 based on his promises for the future, not the disasters of the past.
As he puts it, this is not a referendum, it’s a choice.