Labor beats Conservatives in Australian election, Scott Morrison ousted as PM

Broadcasters call Labor race as there are not enough seats left to declare Mr Morrison to remain in power

Australia’s Labor Party is set to overthrow the ruling Conservative government in a national election, ousting Scott Morrison as Prime Minister.

Broadcasters call Labor race as there are not enough seats left to declare Mr Morrison to remain in power.

But the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) said Labor’s Anthony Albanese would likely lead a minority government and would need to secure a coalition with other parties.

Initial vote counts showed Mr Morrison’s Conservative coalition and the Labor opposition losing ground to smaller parties such as the environmentally-leaning Greens and the climate-leaning Independents.

Neither major party appeared certain of winning the at least 76 seats needed for a majority in the 151-seat Parliament, but Labor appeared on track to win more than 70 seats, ABC said.

Union leader Anthony Albanese (R)


AFP via Getty Images)

“Labour is 72 and needs 76 seats to govern. There are 11 members of the Crossbench, most of whom support action on climate change,” ABC Election Analyst Antony Green said on a live broadcast.

“If Labor falls short and wants to form a government, they can talk to the Greens or to the Crossbench.”

Cable TV broadcaster Sky News ran a chronicle that read: “Labour persecution to win election.”

The centre-left Labor Party had a decent lead in opinion polls after nine years in opposition, although recent polls showed the Liberal-National government closing the gap in the final leg of a six-week election campaign.

A Newspoll poll by the Australian newspaper, released on Election Day, showed Labor’s lead over the governing coalition on a bipartisan-favored basis has fallen by a point to 53-47, with the vote for unsuccessful candidates falling to the two best candidates are reallocated.

But growing dissatisfaction with politics, candidate selection and integrity led voters to turn away from both major parties.

In several wealthy Liberal seats, so-called “blue-green independents” who lobbied for action on climate change after some of Australia’s worst floods and fires appeared likely to win.

Three volunteers working for blue-green independent Monique Ryan, who is taking on Treasurer Josh Frydenberg at Kooyong’s longtime Liberal seat in Melbourne, said they joined Ryan’s campaign because they are concerned about the climate of their children and grandchildren.

“For me, this election actually feels hopeful,” Charlotte Forwood, a working mother of three adult children, told Reuters.

With 82% of the voting booths being counted, Ryan should win 53% of the bipartisan preferential vote.

Early feedback suggested that the Green Party had also gained a foothold, particularly in some urban centres, while billionaire Clive Palmer’s United Australia Party and Pauline Hanson’s right-wing One Nation also appeared to have gained votes at the expense of both major parties.

Green Party leader Adam Bandt, who retained his seat in downtown Melbourne, said climate was a key issue for voters.

“There was an attempt by Labor and the Liberal to bury it and we were very clear that we have to tackle the climate by dealing with coal and gas.”

Morrison and Albanese previously cast their ballots in Sydney after whistle-stop tours of fringe seats over the past two days of a campaign dominated by rising living costs, climate change and integrity.

With Labor focused on rising inflation and sluggish wage growth, Morrison made the country’s lowest unemployment rate in nearly half a century the focus of the final hours of his campaign.

In the outgoing Parliament, the Liberal-National coalition held 76 of the 151 seats in the House of Commons, while Labor held 68 with seven smaller parties and independent members.

Voting is mandatory and by Friday night more than half of the votes had been cast, with a record 8 million early votes in person and by post, the Australian Electoral Commission said.

The Commission has warned that if the contest is close, a clear winner may not be immediately apparent due to the time it takes to count around 3 million absentee ballots.

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