Australian PM concedes election defeat – Eastern Mirror
Canberra (Australia), May 21 (PTI / AP): Australia’s prime minister has conceded defeat after an election on Saturday that could result in a minority government.
Scott Morrison acted quickly despite millions of votes yet to be counted as an Australian prime minister is due to attend a summit in Tokyo on Tuesday with US, Japanese and Indian leaders.
I think it is very important that this country have certainty. I think it’s very important that this country can move forward, Morrison said.
And particularly during this week with the important meetings taking place, I think it is vitally important that there is a very clear understanding of the government of this country, he added.
Opposition leader Anthony 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 house prices.
The party also plans to raise minimum wages 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.
He also wants to tackle climate change with a more ambitious 43% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.
Morrison’s Liberal-led coalition was seeking a fourth three-year term. He holds the narrowest majority of 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 38 seats, Labor 71, seven were non-aligned lawmakers and 23 were too close to be called.
Small parties and independents seemed to garner votes from larger parties, 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.
A record proportion of mail-in votes due to the pandemic, which will not be added to the tally until Sunday, adds to the uncertainty of the early tally.
As well as campaigning against Labour, Morrison’s Conservative Liberals have taken up 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 have achieved here is extraordinary, said Teal candidate and former foreign correspondent Zoe Daniels in her victory speech. Safe Liberal Headquarters. 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 an obvious problem that we are losing seats which are seats of the heart, which have defined the Liberal Party for generations, Birmingham said.
If we lose those seats it’s not certain we’ll lose it, 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.
Voting is compulsory for adult citizens and 92% of registered voters voted in the last election.
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.
On Friday, the government changed regulations to allow people recently infected with COVID-19 to vote by phone.
Electoral Commissioner Tom Rogers said more than 7,000 polling stations opened as planned and on time across Australia despite 15 per cent of election workers falling ill this week with COVID-19 and the flu.
Albanese said he believed Morrison would have called the election last weekend as the Australian prime minister is due for a summit in Tokyo on Tuesday with US President Joe Biden, Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
If we get a clear result today, whoever prime minister will be on a plane to Tokyo on Monday, not ideal, I must say, immediately after a campaign, Albanese said.
Analysts said Morrison had left the election until the last date available to him to give himself more time to reduce Labour’s lead in the opinion polls.