SYDNEY – Unprecedented support for Australia’s Labor Party’s climate-centric independence looks set to form the next government after a decade of Conservative rule, although the new government may not end with an absolute majority.
The center-left Labor is 4-5 seats lower than the 76-member lower house in the 151-seat lower house, where about a dozen constituencies are thought to be very close, television channels reported on Sunday, as Labor looks set to return to power for the first time in 2013.
Labor leader Anthony Albanese will be the 31st prime minister after the independents, who campaigned for more action on climate change, toppled Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s Liberal Party into some of its traditional strongholds. Individual and strong demonstrations from the Greens have also eaten away at the Labor vote in many constituencies.
Treasurer Josh Friedenberg was ready to lose to independent Monique Ryan and could be one of the top-ranking ministers to lose.
In his winning speech on Saturday night, Albanese said he wanted to be sworn in Monday along with some senior members before heading to Tokyo to attend a quad meeting with US President Joe Biden and the prime ministers of Japan and India. .
Labor deputy leader Richard Marles said the party could still get enough seats to govern itself.
“I think some calculations need to be made, and we are hopeful that we will be able to gain a majority in our own right,” Marles told ABC Television on Sunday.
Official results could be a few days away, with the counting of a record 2.7 million postal votes set to begin on Sunday afternoon, two days before the last election.
If a hung parliament were to emerge, the Independents would attach considerable importance to the formulation of government policy on climate change and the formation of a National Anti-Corruption Commission.
With Morrison resigning as party leader and Friedenberg could lose his seat, Secretary of Defense Peter Dutton – a former Queensland policeman – became the preferred choice for leading the Liberals.
Bernabe Joyce, Liberal junior partner and leader of the National Party, said Australia needed a “strong government” that needed to be supported and taken into account.
“So you have to move from a good government to a good opposition party,” Joyce told Sky News on Sunday. (Reporting by Renju Jose; Editing by David Gregorio)