Prime Minister Scott Morrison conceded defeat after an election on Saturday. The Opposition Labor Party is set to take charge with Albanese as the new Prime Minister ending almost a decade of conservative rule, possibly with the support of pro-environment Independents.
Partial results showed Morrison’s Liberal-National coalition had been punished by voters in Western Australia and affluent urban seats in particular.
“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,” Morrison said, stepping down as leader of his party.
Scott Morrison acted quickly despite millions of votes yet to be counted because an Australian prime minister must attend a Tokyo summit on Tuesday with US, Japanese and Indian leaders.
“I believe it’s very important that this country has certainty. I think it’s very important this country can move forward,” Morrison said.
Labor had yet to reach the 76 of the 151 lower house seats required to form a government alone. Final results could take time as counting of a record number of postal votes is completed.
A strong showing by the Greens and a of group of so-called “teal independents”, who campaigned on policies of integrity, equality and tackling climate change, means the makeup of the new parliament looks set to be much less climate-sceptic than the one that supported Morrison’s pro-coal mining administration.
In at least five affluent Liberal-held seats, so-called “teal independents” looked set to win, tapping voter anger over inaction on climate change after some of the worst floods and fires to hit Australia.
Greens leader Adam Bandt, who retained his inner city Melbourne seat, said climate was a major issue for voters.
“There was an attempt from Labor and Liberal to bury it, and we were very clear about the need to tackle climate by tackling coal and gas.”
Morrison and Albanese earlier cast their votes in Sydney after making whistle-stop tours across marginal seats in the final two days of a campaign dominated by rising living costs, climate change and integrity.
As Labor focussed on spiking inflation and sluggish wage growth, Morrison made the country’s lowest unemployment in almost half a century the centrepiece of his campaign’s final hours.