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Hardline conservative who is tough on China elected as Australia’s opposition leader

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Peter Dutton, a hardline conservative who claims to be tough on China, elected Australia’s opposition leader

Peter Dutton inherits a Liberal Party decimated by Australia’s May 21 election, when many long-time voters swung to independents who focused on climate changeAs Defence Minister, Dutton often likened China’s expansionist ambitions to Nazi Germany in the 1930sAustraliaAgence France-PressePublished: 3:47pm, 30 May, 2022Why you can trust SCMP

Australia’s conservatives elected hardliner and China hawk Peter Dutton as the country’s new opposition leader on Monday, an outcome many will see as a lurch to the right for his party.

Dutton came out swinging after accepting the top spot, saying the country’s newly elected Labor government was not “ready to govern and we are already seeing their inexperience on display”.

He promised his party will go to the next election, due in 2025, with a plan to “clean up Labor’s inevitable mess”.

Elected unopposed, Dutton inherits a Liberal Party decimated by Australia’s May 21 election, when many of its long-time voters swung to independent candidates who promised action on climate change.

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The new opposition leader will have to rebuild his shattered party and try to unite its fiercely divided moderate and conservative wings, with climate a key sticking point.

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