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UK Election Ends In A Hung Parliament And Here’s What That Means For Aussies


UK Election Ends In A Hung Parliament And Here’s What That Means For Aussies

Image: Twitter

The UK general election across the pond has served up a hung parliament in Westminster – but what does that actually mean for Aussies living and working in the UK at the moment - or headed there in the future?

According to Sky News reports, British Prime Minister Theresa May has lost her majority resulting in the third UK hung parliament since the second World War.

Latest projects show the Conservatives will remain the largest party on 315 to 325 seats, with 326 seats needed to form a majority government.

A surprising result

In a similar dilemma facing Julia Gillard’s Labor government back in 2010, Griffith University lecturer Andrew O’Neil told Hit FM it was a “surprising” result, given the confidence of the Tories to nab a clean victory.

“The short answer is that it is surprising, most of the polls were predicting a comfortable Conservative party victory,” he said.

“Obviously, the UK pollsters have not had a great track record over the last one to two years, most of the polls showed the UK would not exit the European Union in the lead up to the referendum last year, and that was spectacularly off the mark."

Image: Twitter

Will there be a crackdown on UK immigration?

Despite this uncertainty, Professor O’Neil said a nation-wide immigration crackdown would only happen in a scenario where the Tories were forced to form a minority government with the UK's right-wing UKIP party.

"We just don’t know what the landscape of the new parliament will look like. I don’t know how well UKIP would have done, but if UKIP have done well, then you may see a situation where a Tory government may have to do deals around toughening up on immigration."

How will Australians be affected – will there be a deal?

However for Aussies thinking of headed over to the UK, O'Neil foresees little change to current work visa rules for Australian citizens. 

"For Australians, it will be a neutral outcome," he said.

"In of itself, it will be business as usual. The pound will get a much more favourable rate against the Aussie dollar, due to the uncertainty on market. So I don’t see any major change, I think the Brexit negotiations will now definitely slow down now."

Will this result favour Australians in a Brexit immigration deal?

"Hard to say," O'Neil added. 

"I think a lot of these of things were projections, I think there is a degree of exaggeration of the significance of the Commonwealth. I think Australia I much more engaged in Asia in an economic sense alongside foreign trade and investments.

"Yes, there are Aussies living and working in the UK and Australia has important investment ties in the UK, but we are not as economically connected to the region."

Image: Twitter

A high degree of unpredictability

Professor O'Neil says "This continues a lack of accurate predictions of the part of pollsters," continued O'Neil.

"But more importantly what it shows is a high degree of unpredictability, a high degree of crankiness among the general electorate to a government that has provided relative stability, and an opposition that has had a leader in place, Jeremy Corbyn, who most people would agree is not particularly dynamic, has not presented as an alternative leader and really struggled to get traction."

What sparked this result?

Professor O'Neill says a hung parliament showed a grassroots shift away from the Conservative Tory part was "clearly at play"

"This may be in part be triggered by events over the last month or two, certainly related to terrorist attacks," he said.

"There's a widely-held view that threats to security, and insecurityy among the population generally help conservative governments around the world.

"But what we might be seeing is a bit of a reverse of that, and that is if conservative governments can’t safeguard or guarantee people’s security, or they’re not seen to be doing that, then they will pay a price at the polls."