Australia’s new PM Anthony Albanese

Australia’s new PM Anthony Albanese


Published: 09:07 22 May 2022  

Anthony Albanese vows unity after Labor seizes power

Anthony Albanese vows unity after Labor seizes power

Australia has elected its first Labor government in almost a decade and Anthony Albanese as prime minister, ousting Scott Morrison's coalition.

Mr Albanese told jubilant supporters that Australians had "voted for change". However, it is still unclear whether he can secure a majority.

The centre-left leader vowed to bring people together, invest in social services and "end the climate wars".

Mr Morrison thanked the "miracle of the Australian people" after conceding.

In perhaps the election's greatest twist, support also surged for Greens and independent candidates running on climate platforms.

They could wield greater influence if Labor fails to secure 76 lower house seats to govern in its own right. Late on Saturday, it had 72 seats to the Coalition's 55, the ABC projected. 

Mr Albanese said it was an "extraordinary honour" to lead the country after he emerged to rapturous applause at Labor's victory party in Sydney.

"My Labor team will work every day to bring Australians together. And I will lead a government worthy of the people of Australia," he said.

Mr Albanese, 59, began by acknowledging Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians, reiterating his commitment to hold a referendum on a Voice to Parliament - an Indigenous advisory body - during his three-year term.

He went on to refer to his own humble beginnings as the "son of a single mum who was a disability pensioner, who grew up in public housing".

He also thanked Mr Morrison for his service as prime minister, saying he had "very graciously wished me well".

After his speech, Mr Albanese told the BBC's Shaimaa Khalil he strongly supported the Aukus defence alliance with the US and UK, and hoped to be a world leader on climate action. 

Mr Albanese will fly to Tokyo on Monday for a summit with the leaders of Japan, India and the US. As he will be representing Australia as it's prime minister, he will be sworn into office quickly - perhaps as early as Sunday.

One of Australia's longest-serving politicians, Mr Albanese served briefly as deputy prime minister to Kevin Rudd in 2013 and has long been a favourite of his party's left wing. Since becoming opposition leader in 2019, he has positioned himself more towards the centre. - BBC