Australian prime minister concedes election defeat

May 20, 2022, 4:12 PM | Updated: May 21, 2022, 8:06 am
Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison waves as he leaves the stage with his wife Jenny and daugh...

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison waves as he leaves the stage with his wife Jenny and daughters Lily and Abbey at a Liberal Party function in Sydney, Australia, Saturday, May 21, 2022. Morrison has conceded defeat and has confirmed that he would hand over the leadership of the Liberal Party following his party's loss to Labor in today's federal election. (AP Photo/Mark Baker)

(AP Photo/Mark Baker)

CANBERRA, Australia (AP) — Australia’s prime minister conceded defeat after an election Saturday that could deliver a minority government.

Scott Morrison acted quickly despite millions of votes yet to be counted because an Australian prime minister must attended a Tokyo summit on Tuesday with U.S., Japanese and Indian leaders.

“I believe it’s very important that this country has certainty. I think it’s very important this country can move forward,” Morrison said.

“And particularly over the course of this week with the important meetings that are being held, I think it’s vitally important there’s a very clear understanding about the government of this country,” he added.

Opposition leader Anthony Albanese will be sworn in as prime minister after his Labor party clenched its first electoral win since 2007.

Labor has promised more financial assistance and a robust social safety net as Australia grapples with the highest inflation since 2001 and soaring housing prices.

The party also plans to increase minimal wages, and on the foreign policy front, it proposed to establish a Pacific defense school to train neighboring armies in response to China’s potential military presence on the Solomon Islands on Australia’s doorstep.

It also wants to tackle climate change with a more ambitious 43% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.

Morrison’s Liberal party-led coalition was seeking a fourth three-year term. It holds the narrowest of majorities — 76 seats in the 151-member House of Representatives, where parties need a majority to form a government.

In early counting on Saturday, the coalition was on track to win 38 seats, Labor 71, seven were unaligned lawmakers and 23 were too close to call.

Minor parties and independents appeared to be taking votes from the major parties, which increases the likelihood of a hung parliament and a minority government.

Australia most recent hung parliaments were from 2010-13, and during World War II.

A record proportion of postal votes because of the pandemic, which won’t be added to the count until Sunday, adds to the uncertainty in early counting.

As well as campaigning against Labor, Morrison’s conservative Liberals fought off a new challenge from so-called teal independent candidates to key government lawmakers’ reelection in party strongholds.

At least four Liberal lawmakers appeared to have lost their seats to teal independents including Liberal Party deputy leader Josh Frydenberg, who had been considered Morrison’s most likely successor.

“What we have achieved here is extraordinary,” teal candidate and former foreign correspondent Zoe Daniels said in her victory speech. “Safe Liberal seat. Two-term incumbent. Independent,” she added.

The teal independents are marketed as a greener shade than the Liberal Party’s traditional blue color and want stronger government action on reducing Australia’s greenhouse gas emissions than either the government or Labor are proposing.

The government’s Senate leader Simon Birmingham was concerned by big swings toward several teal candidates.

“It is a clear problem that we are losing seats that are heartland seats, that have defined the Liberal Party for generations,” Birmingham said.

“If we lose those seats — it is not certain that we will — but there is clearly a big movement against us and there is clearly a big message in it,” Birmingham added.

Due to the pandemic, around half of Australia’s 17 million electors have voted early or applied for postal votes, which will likely slow the count.

Voting is compulsory for adult citizens and 92% of registered voters cast ballots at the last election.

Early polling for reasons of travel or work began two weeks ago and the Australian Electoral Commission will continue collecting postal votes for another two weeks.

The government changed regulations on Friday to enable people recently infected with COVID-19 to vote over the phone.

Electoral Commissioner Tom Rogers said more than 7,000 polling stations opened as planned and on time across Australia despite 15% of polling staff falling sick this week with COVID-19 and flu.

Albanese said he had thought Morrison would have called the election last weekend because Australia’s prime minister is expected at a Tokyo summit on Tuesday with U.S. President Joe Biden, Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

“If we get a clear outcome today then whoever is prime minister will be on a plane to Tokyo on Monday, which isn’t ideal, I’ve got to say, immediately after a campaign,” Albanese said.

Analysts have said that Morrison left the election until the latest date available to him to give himself more time to reduce Labor’s lead in opinion polls.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

FILE - In this Aug. 28, 2019, photo, a guard stands in the intake area at the Adelanto ICE Processi...
Associated Press

Immigration detention facility near empty in California

LOS ANGELES (AP) — A sprawling, privately run detention center in the wind-swept California desert town of Adelanto could house nearly 2,000 migrants facing the prospect of deportation. These days, though, it’s nearly empty. The Adelanto facility is an extreme example of how the U.S. government’s use of guaranteed minimum payments in contracts with private […]
8 hours ago
German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, front, arrives for the 'Concerted Action', a meeting of representati...
Associated Press

German leader gathers employers, unions to tackle inflation

BERLIN (AP) — German Chancellor Olaf Scholz gathered top employer and labor union representatives at his Berlin office on Monday to seek ways of addressing the impact of rising prices while preventing a spiral of inflation in Europe’s biggest economy. The government billed Monday’s meeting as the first in a series aimed at finding a […]
8 hours ago
Chari Baker, front, gestures as she confronts Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin at a restaurant Wednesda...
Associated Press

Virginia law stops early inmate releases, angering families

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — Christopher Ford was a baby when his father was sentenced to 28 years in prison for participating in a murder-for-hire scheme that led to the killings of two people at a car dealership. After serving 25 years, prison officials told Robert Glenn Ford he would be released in July under a […]
8 hours ago
Chari Baker, front, gestures as she confronts Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin at a restaurant Wednesda...
Associated Press

Virginia law stops early inmate releases, angering families

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — Christopher Ford was a baby when his father was sentenced to 28 years in prison for participating in a murder-for-hire scheme that led to the killings of two people at a car dealership. After serving 25 years, prison officials told Robert Glenn Ford he would be released in July under a […]
8 hours ago
FILE - Brazil's former president who is running for reelection, Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, looks on...
Associated Press

Bolsonaro’s reelection hopes dim unless he wins over women

BRASILIA, Brazil (AP) — If Brazil’s President Jair Bolsonaro is to have any hope of securing a second term, he needs more female support – and fast. Yet a man famed for macho bravado hasn’t shown any concerted strategy to do so. With the election just three months off, some polls show only one in […]
8 hours ago
FILE - Brazil's President Jair Bolsonaro, center, leads a motorcycle rally in Manaus, Brazil, June ...
Associated Press

Bolsonaro’s reelection hopes dim unless he wins over women

BRASILIA, Brazil (AP) — If Brazil’s President Jair Bolsonaro is to have any hope of securing a second term, he needs more female support – and fast. Yet a man famed for macho bravado hasn’t shown any concerted strategy to do so. With the election just three months off, some polls show only one in […]
8 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

(Courtesy Condor)...
Condor Airlines

Condor Airlines shows passion for destinations from Sky Harbor with new-look aircraft

Condor Airlines brings passion to each flight and connects people to their dream destinations throughout the world.
...
Carla Berg, MHS, Deputy Director, Public Health Services, Arizona Department of Health Services

Vaccines are safe if you are pregnant or breastfeeding

Are you pregnant? Do you have a friend or loved one who’s expecting?
...
CANVAS ANNUITY

Best retirement savings rates hit 4.30%

Maximize your retirement savings with guaranteed fixed rates up to 4.30%. Did you know there is a financial product that can give you great interest rates as you build your retirement savings and provide you with a paycheck for life once you retire? It might sound too good to be true but it is not; this product is called an annuity.
Australian prime minister concedes election defeat