BRISBANE, Australia (Fwrd Axis) — Australian Labor Party leader Anthony Albanese claimed victory on Saturday, setting the stage to become the next Prime Minister of Australia but it is still unclear if his party will have a majority.
The result is a sharp rebuke to the center-right government, ending nine years of conservative leadership. The election’s main focus was on climate change as voters swung towards Greens candidates and Independents.
“Millions of Australians have put climate first. Now, it’s time for a radical reset on how this great nation of ours acts upon the climate challenge,” Amanda McKenzie, CEO of the research group the Climate Council in a statement.
Incumbent Scott Morrison was unpopular with voters, admitting as much when he said he had been a “bit of a bulldozer” when it came to making hard decisions during the pandemic. He spoke to his supporters on Saturday, confirming he conceded. and called Albanese to congratulate him on his election victory.
“I’ve always believed in Australians and their judgment, and I’ve always been prepared to accept their verdict,” he said.
Walking out to cheers from his supporters after midnight, Albanese said he would seek to unite the nation.
“I will work every day to bring Australians together. And I will lead a government worthy of the people of Australia,” he said. “I can promise all Australians this no matter how you voted today, the government I lead will respect every one of you every day.”
One of Albanese’s first actions as Prime Minister will be to fly to Tokyo with Foreign Minister Penny Wong for talks with Quad members from the United States, India, and Japan. The White House confirmed early Sunday morning that President Joe Biden called Albanese to congratulate him and looks forward to meeting him.
“The Quad matters,” Biden told reporters before departing South Korea for Tokyo.