SYDNEY – Australia’s main opposition Labor Party is on track to win Saturday’s general election, television stations have speculated, as voters abandon the ruling Conservative Alliance in favor of climate-independent and small parties.
A victory would end nine years of opposition to Labor and leader Anthony Albanese, but they would still have to rely on the support of the Green Party and a group of so-called “Till independents” who campaigned on the principles of honesty, equality and confrontation. Climate change.
Partial results show that Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s Liberal-National Coalition has been punished by wealthy urban voters, especially in Western Australia.
Anthony Green, an election analyst at the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, said in a live broadcast: “I do not see the alliance rising above 60 (seats). 8 out of 151 seats in the lower house are required to form the government.
Green added, “Unless the Labor Party sits on its high horse and says ‘we got 74, it’s not 76, we are not forming a government’, there is no alternative government in that parliament.”
Treasurer Josh Friedenberg acknowledged that the long-held Liberal seat in Melbourne’s Cuong would be “difficult” for him to hold on to one of the government’s biggest hits, an independent newcomer.
The final results may take some time as a record number of postal votes are counted.
The center-left Labor gave a decent lead in opinion polls, although recent polls show that the Liberal-National government has narrowed the gap in the final spread of the six-week campaign.
A Newspole poll of Australian newspapers on election day showed that the Labor lead over the ruling coalition fell to 53-47 points on a two-party basis, with the votes of unsuccessful candidates being redistributed between the top two contestants.
With at least five affluent Liberal-dominated seats, the so-called “Till Independent” seems poised to win, tapping voters’ anger at Australia’s inaction on climate change after some of the worst floods and wildfires.
Three volunteers working for Till Independent Monique Ryan, who were challenging Friedenberg, joined Ryan’s campaign because they were concerned about the climate for their children and grandchildren.
“For me, this election actually looks promising,” Charlotte Forwood, a working mother of three adult children, told Reuters.
Early returns suggest that the Greens have also made ground, looking to get three seats in Queensland.
Greens leader Adam Bandet, who holds the Melbourne seat in his hometown, says climate is a major problem for voters.
“There have been attempts from Labor and the Liberals to bury it, and we have been very clear about the need to tackle the climate by tackling coal and gas.”
Morrison and Albanese previously voted for them in Sydney after a whistle-stop tour across the marginal seats over the last two days of the campaign, influenced by rising living costs, climate change and integrity.
As labor focused on rising inflation and wage growth, Morrison turned the country’s lowest unemployment in nearly half a century into the focus of the last hour of his campaign.
(Reporting by Renju Jose, John Myer and Byron Kay in Sydney and Sonali Paul in Melbourne; Written by Lincoln Feast; Edited by Richard Pulin, William Mallard and Ross Russell)