Australia election: Centre-right coalition to form majority government after shock election win

Opinion polls and bookmakers had tipped the opposition Australian Labor Party to win

Samuel Osborne
Monday 20 May 2019 14:39
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Liberal Party leader Scott Morrison wins Australian elections

Australia’s conservative coalition look set to form a majority government following a shock election victory.

Prime minister Scott Morrison’s Liberal Party-led coalition defied forecasts to be re-elected over the weekend in what he called a political “miracle”.

Opinion polls and bookmakers had tipped the opposition Australian Labor Party (ALP) to win, but the Australian Electoral Commission (AEC) said Mr Morrison’s coalition had won 76 seats in Australia’s 151-seat parliament.

The AEC said the coalition was on target to win 77 seats with 84 per cent of votes counted – an increase of four after going into the election as a minority government.

The ALP was set to claim 68 seats, with independents and minor parties taking six.

Winning at least 77 seats would allow Mr Morrison’s coalition to appoint the house speaker from its own ranks, rather than from among independent or minor party politicians.

The result rocketed Australian banking, property and health-related stocks to an 11-year high on Monday.

Mr Morrison, Australia’s sixth prime minister in only eight years, said his fellow citizens had had enough of politics.

“They’ve had their say, they’ve made their decision. Now they expect us to get on with it so they can get on with their lives,” he told 2GB radio in Sydney. “That’s what the quiet Australians have said and I’m going to honour that.”

One of Mr Morrison’s first tasks after being sworn in will be a cabinet reshuffle to replace several retired frontbenchers.

The prime minister has rejected efforts to increase the use of renewables to generate electricity, arguing it would damage the economy, which relies on coal-fired power and mining exports.

The coalition has stuck to an official target to cut carbon emissions by 26-28 per cent by 2030 from 2005 levels, but has been warned Australia is unlikely to meet this goal.

Labor campaigned on more aggressive targets, aiming to cut carbon emissions by 45 per cent by 2030 and reach 50 per cent renewable power by 2030.

Clive Palmer rants about Australian election during interview

Mr Morrison became prime minister last August in an internal party vote following the ousting of Malcolm Turnbull.

The move caused widespread disgust among an Australian electorate sorely disillusioned by seeing another one of its leaders replaced without them having a say.

Labor leader Bill Shorten announced his resignation on Saturday night and the party began the task of finding a new leader on Monday.

Additional reporting by agencies

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