The centre-left Labour Party in Australia looks set to end more than nine years in power by the conservatives as results from Saturday’s federal election indicate that the government has been swept away by a wave of support for candidates who campaigned for more action on climate change.
These candidates, as the results pour in, look almost certain to hold the balance of power.
Reuters reports that while partial results showed Labor had made small gains, Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s Liberal-National coalition had been punished by voters in Western Australia and affluent urban seats in particular.
The Greens and a group of so-called “teal independents”, who campaigned on policies of gender equality and tackling climate change, performed strongly, tapping voter anger over inaction on the environment after some of the worst floods and fires to hit the country.
“Tonight, I have spoken to the leader of the opposition and the incoming prime minister, Anthony Albanese. And I’ve congratulated him on his election victory this evening,” Mr Morrison said.
Mr Albanese, speaking as he headed to his party celebrations, said he wanted to unite Australians and “end the climate wars”.
“I think people want to come together, look for our common interest, look towards that sense of common purpose. I think people have had enough of division, what they want is to come together as a nation and I intend to lead that.”
Mr Albanese said he aimed to be sworn in quickly so he could attend a meeting of the Quad security grouping in Tokyo on Tuesday.
He promised constitutional recognition and parliamentary representation for Indigenous Aboriginals, as well as the establishment of an anti-corruption commission.
Writing by Tony Okerafor