Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s centre-right coalition government has been defeated at the federal election, with Anthony Albanese awaiting vote counting to determine if his centre-left Labor party can form a majority government.
Albanese has pledged to bring Australians together after defeating the nine-year-old Liberal-National coalition government.
Morrison conceded defeat on Saturday night with Labor projected to hold 77 seats in the 151-seat parliament—76 seats are needed to win majority government.
The coalition is projected to hold 59 seats, with as many as 15 crossbenchers including four left-wing Greens MPs, according to election analyst William Bowe.
However, as vote counting continued the Australian Electoral Commission officially listed Labor as holding 75 seats, the coalition 51, with 12 crossbenchers, and the remaining undecided.
There is still the prospect Labor could fall short of a majority, meaning it would need crossbench support to govern as it did between 2010 and 2013.
“Together we begin the work of building a better future… for all Australians,” Albanese told supporters in Sydney.
Albanese is expected to be sworn in on Monday, along with senior members of his cabinet, before heading to Tokyo for the Quad meeting with the leaders of Japan, the United States, and India.
Morrison is set to remain in Parliament, having retained his Sydney seat of Cook, but will step down as leader at the next Liberal partyroom meeting.
He said despite the final result not yet being known he believed it was important the nation had certainty of leadership and Australia could be represented at the Quad meeting.
The Liberal leader noted it had been a “time of great upheaval.”
“It has imposed a heavy price on our country and on all Australians and I think all Australians have felt that deeply,” he said.
“And we’ve seen in our own politics a great deal of disruption as the way people have voted today with major parties having one of the lowest primary votes we’ve ever seen.”
Labor’s primary vote of 32 percent was lower than it achieved when it lost the 2019 election, while the coalition scored 35 percent.
“That says a lot about the upheaval that’s taking place in our nation and I think it is important for our nation to heal and to move forward,” Morrison said.
Albanese, who has often spoken of growing up in social housing and being brought up by a single mum, said he hoped his journey in life inspired other Australians to “reach for the stars.”
“I want Australia to continue to be a country that—no matter where you live, who you worship, who you love or what your last name is—places no restrictions on your journey in life.”
Vote counting will continue on Sunday.
The final result of the half-Senate election is yet to be determined.
By Paul Osborne