Euphoria has swept across Australia as the Liberal-National coalition comes to power for the first time in six years.
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The coalition won out over the governing Labour party; winning 88 seats to Labour’s 57 in the 150-seat parliament.
Liberal leader Tony Abbott, who will be prime minister, promised a competent and trustworthy government.
“From today I declare Australia is under new management and Australia is now open for business,” he told the crowd during his victory speech.
The issues defining Australia
The main election issues included whether to keep a tax on carbon emissions, and how to manage immigration from Asia.
In addition, during the run up to the elections both Mr Abbot and Labour leader Kevin Rudd focused on how to tackle an expected economic slowdown as the county’s economic boom from natural resources comes to an end.
Now, Mr Abbott will be charged with managing the transition, which saw Australia largely untouched during the economic recession.
Rudd offers a clean break to Labour
In a dig at the exiting party, Abbott noted that support for Labour was at its lowest point for 100 years, and that the results showed that Australia would not allow a fractious party to continue to lead.
On the other side of the fence, Mr Rudd maintained a dignified low profile, and stated he had phoned Mr Abbott and wished him well.
“I gave it my all but it was not enough for us to win,” Rudd stated, before noting he was pleased that Labour was preserved as a “viable fighting force for the future”. Their 57 seats in parliament are also leading others to suggest Labour can maintain an impactful shadow ministry.
Despite stepping down as the Labor leader, Mr Rudd retained his seat in the Brisbane constituency of Griffith. He has stated he will not run for Labor party leadership again as the Australian people “deserve a fresh start”.
A hard choice
Whilst Australia’s economic growth during the financial crisis should have played well for the Labour government, infighting between then Prime Minister Julia Gillard and other party members left voters feeling disgruntled; and ultimately contributed to the party’s performance during these elections.
With commentators noting Mr Abbott’s victory is not so much an endorsement as a rejection of the tarnished Labor party, he now has to lead under the knowledge he may just have been the slightly more palatable of the two choices on offer.
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