Anthony Albanese Sworn in as 31st Australian Prime Minister

By AAP
AAP
AAP
Australian Associated Press is an Australian news agency.
May 22, 2022 Updated: May 22, 2022

Anthony Norman Albanese has been sworn in as Australia’s 31st prime minister just hours ahead of a trip to Tokyo to meet with U.S. President Joe Biden.

With counting from Saturday’s election yet to confirm whether he will govern in majority, Albanese on Monday attended Government House in Canberra.

He was accompanied by incoming Deputy Prime Minister Richard Marles, Foreign Minister Penny Wong, Treasurer Jim Chalmers, and Finance Minister Katy Gallagher.

The ministers will cover all portfolios until the Labor caucus can meet the week after next to put in place a full ministry.

Albanese and Senator Wong will head to Tokyo on Monday afternoon for the Quad meeting with Biden, host leader Fumio Kishida, and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

The Australian prime minister issued a statement on Sunday night, saying he would use the meeting to talk about his government’s ambitions to tackle climate change and pursue a stronger foreign policy focus on the region.

“This will be my first international trip as prime minister and I am honoured to represent Australia at this important forum,” the statement read.

“The Quad Leaders’ Summit brings together four leaders of great liberal democracies—Australia, Japan, India, and the United States of America—in support of a free, open, and resilient Indo-Pacific, with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) at its centre.

“Under my government, Australia will continue to work through the Quad to deliver positive and practical initiatives in our region, including on health, security, and climate change.”

Biden spoke with Albanese on Sunday and reaffirmed its commitment to the U.S.-Australia alliance.

“President Biden expressed deep appreciation for the Prime Minister-designate’s own early commitment to the alliance, reflected in his decision to travel almost immediately to Tokyo to attend the Quad Summit,” a U.S. government readout of the call said.

On Monday morning, official figures from the Australian Electoral Commission had Labor on 75 seats in the House of Representatives—one short of a majority—but the party is projected to hold as many as 77.

The now-opposition Liberal-National Coalition had 57 seats, with Scott Morrison set to stand down from the Liberal Party leadership once a party room meeting can be scheduled.

He is widely expected to be replaced by outgoing defence minister Peter Dutton, who may face resistance from moderates in the party.

Albanese will return to Australia on Wednesday.

One of the first major events in the next two weeks will be a meeting with state premiers and territory chief ministers when he will set out the new federal government’s stance on more ambitious climate action.

Ten independents are on track for victory and will join sitting Rebekha Sharkie from the Centre Alliance and veteran Kennedy MP Bob Katter on the crossbench.

The Australian Electoral Commission has listed seven seats where the two-candidate preferred vote is so far unavailable: Cowper, Griffith, Macnamara, Maranoa, Melbourne, Richmond, and Sydney.

Three are formally listed as “close:” Sturt, Gilmore, and Menzies.

Incumbent MPs are trailing in 20 seats: Swan, Pearce, Tangney, Hasluck, Curtin (WA); Chisholm, Higgins, Kooyong, Goldstein, Deakin (Victoria); Gilmore, Wentworth, Reid, North Sydney, Robertson, Mackellar, Fowler, Bennelong (NSW); Boothby and Grey (SA).

The final result has been projected as 77 for Labor, 59 for the Coalition, and 15 on the crossbench.

Outgoing Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce said his future as Nationals leader was in the hands of his party room colleagues.

Independent candidates elected on Saturday will be pushing the government to deliver on three issues: a more ambitious climate policy, a national integrity commission, and women’s equality.

Monique Ryan, who is on track to seize the seat of Kooyong from outgoing Treasurer Josh Frydenberg, claimed voters had responded to a Coalition government shifting “too far to the right.”

Moderate Liberal and outgoing Finance Minister Simon Birmingham said the party needed to step up its 2030 emissions target and do more to preselect women in safe seats.

The Greens, having secured a record primary vote, are on track to hold 12 Senate seats in the new Parliament and up to five lower house seats.

AAP
Australian Associated Press is an Australian news agency.