Labor leader Bill Shorten has conceded defeat and announced he will stand down as Labor leader, following Australia’s federal election on Saturday, May 18.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison was re-elected May 18, securing another three-year team for the Liberal-National coalition following an intense five-week campaign against Bill Shorten and the Labor party.
“Without wanting to hold out any false hope, while there are still million of votes to count, it is obvious Labor will not be able to form the next government,” Shorten told Labor supporters.
“I wish we could have formed a government for these Australians on this evening,” he told supporters at the Labor function in Melbourne. “I wish we could have won for the true believers, for our brothers and sisters in the mighty trade union movement.”
“I wish we could have done it for Bob,” he said, referring to former prime minister Bob Hawke who died May 16.
Shorten, with his wife by his side, said he would remain as the member for Maribyrnong but would not be a candidate in the next Labor leadership ballot.
“Labor’s next victory will belong to our next leader and I’m confident that victory will come at the next election,” he said.
He said he had called Scott Morrison to congratulate him on a win for the coalition, conceding Labor did not have the seats to win. Shorten wished Mr Morrison and his family well.
“Above all, I wished Scott Morrison good fortune and good courage in the service of our great nation,” he said. “The national interest required no less.”
Labor had picked up only 65 so far of the 76 needed to form a majority government, while the coalition was sitting on 74.
Shorten urged Labor supporters to continue the fight.
“We cannot change the past but my word we can change the future.”