On Monday, Australia’s Labor Party will establish the country’s new government, ending almost a decade of conservative dominance with historic support for the Greens and climate-focused independents.
]According to television broadcasters, Labor is still four to five seats shy of a 76-seat majority in the 151-seat lower house, with a dozen electorates too close to call. To reclaim power for the first time since 2013, Labor may require the cooperation of independents and minor parties.
Labor leader Anthony Albanese said he and four senior party members will be sworn in as the country’s 31st prime minister on Monday, before traveling to Tokyo on Tuesday for a “Quad” meeting with US President Joe Biden and the prime ministers of Japan and India.
“I want to make a difference in this country.” After leaving a café in his Sydney neighbourhood where he was seen with supporters, Albanese told reporters, “I want to alter the way politics works in this nation.”
Several foreign leaders congratulated Albanese on his victory, including British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and New Zealand’s Jacinda Ardern.
Independents, largely women, defeated Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s Liberal Party in numerous urban strongholds, campaigning for stronger action on climate change, integrity, and gender equality. In numerous seats, independents and a strong performance by the Greens ate into Labor’s vote share.
“I feel that now is the moment for us to do something new, and if we can achieve action on climate change, that’ll be fairly exciting,” Wentworth electorate voter Mark Richardson told the reporters. This election, an independent has grabbed one of the classic Liberal seats, Wentworth.
Morrison, who will stand down as Liberal Party leader, was filmed attending church on Sunday morning.
“You’ve provided us a tremendous foundation from which we can travel… (in) what has been a very tough road… over the previous almost four years,” Morrison said, obviously moved.
Official results might take several days, with a record 2.7 million postal ballots set to be counted on Sunday afternoon, two days sooner than in previous elections.
If a hung parliament results, independents will wield significant influence over the government’s climate change policy and ambitions to establish a national anti-corruption commission.
Labor’s deputy leader, Richard Marles, believes the party can still win enough seats to rule on its own.
“I believe there is some counting to be done, and we are hoping that we will be able to gain a majority in our own right,” Marles told the reporters.
Barnaby Joyce, the National Party’s junior partner, said Australia needs a “strong government” that needed to be supported while also being held accountable.
On Sunday, Joyce told the reporters, “You have to move from a good administration to a good opposition.”