Australian Labor Party leader Anthony Albanese seemed certain to form a minority government, though it was unclear as the count continued whether the party would have enough seats for a majority, according to three-year projections. information networks.
Parties need a majority of 76 seats to form a majority government. The Labor Party currently sits on 73, according to the Australian Electoral Commission.
Early counts showed a strong swing towards Green candidates and independents who demanded emissions cuts far beyond commitments made by Morrison’s coalition.
Amanda McKenzie, CEO of research group Climate Council, said climate action was the winner of the vote.
“Millions of Australians have put the climate first. Now it’s time to radically reset the way our great nation acts on the climate challenge,” she said in a statement.
Albanese served as a minister in the previous Labor government under Prime Ministers Kevin Rudd and Julia Gillard, before taking over as Labor leader after the party’s last election defeat in 2019.
The loss left Labor breathless and they have returned to this election campaign with more modest promises to avoid scaring off voters worried about sweeping change.
Rather than a political contest, this election focused on the character of the leaders. Morrison was deeply unpopular with voters and seemed to admit it when he admitted in the final week of the campaign that he had been “a bit of a bulldozer”. He was referring to making tough decisions during the pandemic and breaking an undersea deal with France, but it reflected claims that his leadership style was more authoritarian than collaborative.
Speaking to supporters late Saturday night, Morrison said he called Albanese and congratulated him on his election victory. “I have always believed in Australians and their judgement, and I have always been prepared to accept their verdict,” he said.
“Three years ago I stood before you and said I believed in miracles. I still believe in miracles,” he said, pointing to his family. “But there is another great miracle that I want to give thanks for tonight. And that is the miracle of the Australian people. What Australians have endured over the past few years has shown tremendous depth of character, resilience and strength.”
What will Albanian do as Prime Minister?
One of Albanese’s first priorities as prime minister will be to rebuild relationships with foreign leaders that he says Morrison has neglected in recent years. Among them are leaders from the Pacific Islands, including the Solomon Islands whose leader has signed a security pact with Beijing, stoking fears that China is planning to build its first military base in the Pacific.
On Tuesday, Albanese is expected to be in Tokyo for talks with Quad members from the United States, India and Japan, where they will discuss priorities for securing free passage in the Indo-Pacific.
The climate crisis was one of the defining issues of the election, as one of the few points of divergence between the coalition and Labour, and a top concern among voters, according to polls.
Marija Taflaga, director of the center for Australian policy studies at the Australian National University, said the shift to the Greens was remarkable. “I think everyone was surprised by these results…I think it will mean more and faster action on climate change on a larger scale.”
Labor has pledged to cut emissions by 43% by 2030 and reach net zero by 2050, in part by strengthening the mechanism used to pressure companies to make cuts.
But research institute Climate Analytics says Labor’s plans are not ambitious enough to keep global temperature rise to less than 1.5 degrees Celsius, as set out in the Paris Agreement.
Labor Party policies are more consistent with a 2 degree Celsius rise, the institute said, slightly better than the coalition plan.
To accelerate the transition to renewable energy, the Labor Party plans to upgrade Australia’s energy grid and deploy solar banks and community batteries. But despite its net zero commitment, Labor says it will approve new coal projects if they are environmentally and economically viable.
Albanese supports a 5.1% minimum wage hike, although he has no power to impose it, only leeway to submit a recommendation to the Fair Work Commission for the minimum wage to follow the rate of inflation.
A modest upbringing at PM
Albanese often references his past as the son of a single mother to demonstrate his commitment to improving the lives of struggling Australians.
His mother, Maryanne, suffered from rheumatoid arthritis and lived on disability benefits while raising him alone in public housing in the 1960s.
“It gave me the determination every day to help people as I grew up to have a better life. And I think that’s what Australians want,” he told the National Press Club in January. .
Albanese has repeatedly credited his mother for her strength during his campaign, most recently on Friday when he paid tribute to an “incredible woman”.
“She would be very proud because she made the brave decision in 1963 to keep a child she had out of wedlock,” he said.
Albanese’s father was a cruise ship steward and Australia’s new prime minister was born out of a then-scandalous brief affair for a Catholic bachelor.
So she told him her father had died to spare him the truth, he said.
“It was a tough decision,” he said. “It says a lot about the pressure that has been put on women and the pressures that are still being put on women when they face difficult circumstances. The fact that this young girl is now a candidate for Prime Minister says a lot about her and her courage, but it also says a lot about this country.”
Albanese may have won over Australians, but one of his challenges as prime minister will be uniting his party’s factions, said Zareh Ghazarian, a lecturer in politics at Monash University.
“He presented himself as someone who is going to be a weighted leader. The challenge he will face is to dominate and stay at the top of the Labor caucus,” he said.
Williams, of Griffith University, said Albanese lacked experience in major portfolios but predicted he would “grow into the job”.
“I think it’s going to be a steep learning curve for Albanese because he hasn’t had a very high portfolio as treasurer or foreign minister. And he’s going to be thrown into the Quad meeting mix next week. So it’s going to be baptism of fire,” he said.