Australian Labor Party overthrows Conservatives; PM faces early testing – KIRO 7 News Seattle

CANBERRA, Australia – (AP) – Australia’s centre-left opposition party toppled the Conservative government after nearly a decade in power, and Prime Minister-elect Anthony Albanese, in his election victory speech on Saturday, promised deeper cuts in greenhouse gas emissions as it faces a test start in foreign policy.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison said he quickly conceded defeat despite millions of votes still to be counted as an Australian leader is due to attend a summit in Tokyo on Tuesday with US President Joe Biden, Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida and the Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Albanese, who described himself as the only candidate with a ‘non-Anglo-Celtic name’ to run for prime minister in the office’s 121-year existence, referred to his own modest upbringing in the suburbs from Sydney to Camperdown.

“It says a lot about our great country that a son of a single mother who was a disabled pensioner, who grew up in public accommodation down the road in Camperdown, can stand before you tonight as Prime Minister of Australia “, said Albanese.

“Every parent wants more for the next generation than they had. My mother dreamed of a better life for me. And I hope my journey in life inspires Australians to aim for the stars,” he said. -he adds.

Albanese will be sworn in as prime minister after his Labor party won its first election victory since 2007.

Labor has promised more financial aid and a strong social safety net as Australia grapples with the highest inflation since 2001 and soaring property prices.

The party also plans to raise the minimum wage and, on the foreign policy front, it has proposed establishing a Pacific Defense School to train neighboring armies in response to China’s potential military presence in the Solomon Islands. at the gates of Australia.

It also wants to tackle climate change with a more ambitious 43% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2030 and net zero emissions by 2050.

Morrison’s Liberal-led coalition was seeking a fourth three-year term. He held the narrowest majority – 76 seats in the 151-member House of Representatives, where parties need a majority to form a government. At the start of the count on Saturday, the coalition was on track to win 51 seats, Labor 72, 10 were non-aligned lawmakers and 18 were too close to be called.

Major parties bled votes from fringe parties and independents, increasing the likelihood of a hung parliament and a minority government.

The most recent suspended parliaments in Australia date from 2010-13 and the Second World War.

The small Australian Greens party appears to have increased its representation from one seat to three.

The Greens backed a Labor minority government in 2010 and will likely back a Labor administration again if the party fails to achieve a 76-seat majority.

As well as campaigning against Labour, Morrison’s Conservative Liberals have taken on a fresh challenge from so-called teal independent candidates to the re-election of key government lawmakers in party strongholds.

At least four Liberal lawmakers appeared to have lost their seats to teal independents, including Deputy Liberal Party Leader Josh Frydenberg, who had been seen as Morrison’s most likely successor.

“What we’ve accomplished here is extraordinary,” said Teal candidate and former foreign correspondent Zoe Daniels in her victory speech. “Safe Liberal seat. Holder for two terms. Independent,” she added.

Teal independents are being marketed as a shade greener than the Liberal Party’s traditional blue color and want stronger government action to cut Australia’s greenhouse gas emissions than the government or Labor are offering.

The Prime Minister in the Senate, Simon Birmingham, expressed concern about the big swings towards several Teal candidates.

“It is a clear problem that we are losing seats that are seats of the heart, that have defined the Liberal Party for generations,” Birmingham said.

“If we lose those seats – it’s not certain we will – but there’s clearly a big move against us and there’s clearly a big message in there,” Birmingham added.

Due to the pandemic, about half of Australia’s 17 million voters voted early or requested postal votes, which will likely slow the count.

Early voting for travel or work reasons began two weeks ago and the Australian Electoral Commission will continue to collect postal votes for another two weeks.

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