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Why did Scott Morrison fail to congratulate Jacinda Ardern on her landslide win?

ScoMo’s public silence towards Jacinda Ardern following her win could be telling of a bigger political picture – are we entering a new era?

Jacinda Ardern and her team saw a huge victory over the weekend as she was voted in for a second term as Prime Minister of New Zealand in a landslide result. Winning a majority of seats in Parliament, Labour took out 76 to the opposition’s 44.

The outstanding accomplishment was met by celebration and praise for Ardern by New Zealanders and the world at large, with many other world leaders stepping up to congratulate her on Twitter following the announcement of the polling results.

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Amongst those who offered their congratulations were Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Fijian Prime Minister Frank Bainimarama, Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan, the President of the Maldives Ibrahim Mohamed Solih, Belgian Prime Minister Alexander De Croo, and Icelandic Prime Minister Katrín Jakobsdóttir.

But it’s hard not to notice that there are a few names lacking from that list – *cough cough* – Prime Minister of Australia, Scott Morrison. In all fairness, Jacinda Ardern has stated that Morrison privately reached out to her, but it’s still somewhat telling that Morrison himself, or the Liberal Party in general, did not feel it was necessary to congratulate Ardern publicly, via social media or a public statement.

The Twitter-verse is exploding with reasons and explanations on why many right-wing politicians are yet to acknowledge this incredible political triumph, and this is where the story starts to get interesting. The question must be posed: are we exiting out of a political era that is centred around right-wing politics?

What Jacinda Ardern has accomplished is incredible, but even Ardern herself has acknowledged that she’s done nothing extraordinary to note, only acting in the interest of her nation with a compassionate heart. When dissecting politics, particularly in 2020, it seems some voters are beginning to lean towards political figures whose values represent a clear antithesis of their opponent. Take Biden and Trump for example.

Joe Biden has again, done nothing that is out of the ordinary for a politician. In fact, many have brought to the light the potential corruption which lurks beneath his own party. But it’s that Biden, in so many ways, represents what Donald Trump does not, that people are more inclined to vote in his favour.

What exactly is it that leaders like Donald Trump, Scott Morrison, or even Prime Minister of the UK, Boris Johnson, seemingly lack? The answer appears increasingly simple: people are craving politicians that are considered, empathetic, and compassionate. This is why Ardern has done so well.

It’s noted that Jacinda Ardern exceeds in communicating clearly, as well as taking time to focus on emotional empathy during times of hardship, favouring science over politics, and acting quickly and decisively. Many of these traits would have previously fallen under the category of  “feminine qualities”, and were not to be aligned with politics.

Yet the reality is that these qualities basically just boil down to decent human respect. Currently, world leaders, both male and female, who approach their work in this manner are celebrated for it.

Approaching politics from a humanitarian perspective, and perceiving political parties as an aid to foster the needs of their country’s citizens – as opposed to focusing on capitalism and national gain and greed – is increasingly at odds with the conservative side of politics. As Ardern recently, very eloquently stated: “We are too small to lose sight of other people’s perspectives.” 

As some Twitter users pointed out, if Jacinda Ardern were to run as a political candidate in a different country, it’s conceivable that she may not have be celebrated and embraced in the same way that she has been in New Zealand.

In Australia, history shows the Murdoch media-stranglehold is quick to demonise the left, manoeuvring the national consciousness in a subtle, but major way. Perhaps, if Jacinda Ardern had been Prime Minister of Australia, her political fate would have been very different.

Wherever we’re heading, we can only hope that times are changing for the better – and Jacinda Ardern is not only living proof of that, but someone that has wholeheartedly assumed her role as a leader, and led with incredible example.