SYDNEY (Reuters) – Labor’s Anthony Albanese has been sworn in as the country’s 31st prime minister, promising to bring the country together after a fractious election campaign and vowing to tackle climate change and inequality. Albanese and new Foreign Minister Penny Wong immediately headed off for a meeting of Quad leaders in Tokyo, where China’s […]
Australia’s new government: What you need to know
SYDNEY (Reuters) – Labor’s Anthony Albanese has been sworn in as the country’s 31st prime minister, promising to bring the country together after a fractious election campaign and vowing to tackle climate change and inequality.
Albanese and new Foreign Minister Penny Wong immediately headed off for a meeting of Quad leaders in Tokyo, where China’s growing outreach across the Asia-Pacific will be in focus.
Australian financial markets offered a muted reaction to the election, with the outcome already priced in and no radical change in economic course expected.
“The relationship with China will remain a difficult one,” Albanese said on Monday. “It is China that has changed, not Australia, and Australia should always stand up for our values and we will in a Government that I lead.”
THE NEXT PRIME MINISTER AND SENIOR MINISTERS
* Albanese is a pragmatic leader from a working-class background who has pledged to end divisions in the country.
* Four senior ministers were sworn in with Albanese on Monday
INDEPENDENT WOMEN UPEND POLITICS
A third force emerged in Australian politics as professional women took a swath of Liberal seats running as independents on platforms of climate action, integrity and gender equity.
Big scalps included former Treasurer Josh Frydenberg, who has not fully conceded.
The Greens also made big gains, picking up several lower house seats and increasing their sway in the Senate.
END OF THE CLIMATE WARS?
This might be the election that ends more than a decade of climate wars in a country seen as an international laggard on climate action, with business facing a gradual tightening of allowed carbon emissions.
CONGRATULATIONS FROM THE NEIGHBOURS
Pacific neighbours congratulated Albanese, including Solomon Islands Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare, whose security pact with China became an election issue.
The House of Representatives has 151 seats, 76 of which are needed for a majority to form the government.
Counting of postal and early votes continues. ABC election analysts have Labor with 72 seats and the Liberal-National coalition with 52. Independents and the Greens have 15 seats between them, with 12 seats still in doubt.
There are 76 Senate seats; 12 for each of the six states and two each for two territories. There are 40 seats up for election: six from each state and the four territory seats.
A complex voting system means it may be weeks before final results for the Senate are known.
FACTBOX: Australia’s democracy
(Reporting by Lincoln Feast. Editing by Gerry Doyle)