Australia’s opposition crushed the Labor party in 7th September’s general election to return the Liberal-National coalition to power for the first time in six years. The coalition won 88 seats to Labor’s 57 in the 150-seat parliament. Liberal leader Tony Abbott, who is the new prime minister, has promised a competent and trustworthy government. Former PM Kevin Rudd earlier admitted defeat and said he would not stand again for the Labor leadership. The main election issues were how to tackle an expected economic slowdown, whether to keep a tax on carbon emissions, and how to reduce the number of asylum seekers arriving by boat. Mr Rudd had called the election after defeating Julia Gillard in a leadership challenge in June, amid dismal polling figures that showed Labor on course for a wipe-out. ‘From today I declare Australia is under new management and Australia is now open for business’, Mr Abbott told a cheering crowd as he delivered a victory speech. He said that he would put the budget back into surplus, and stop boats bringing migrants from Asia. He added that support for Labor was at its lowest ebb for 100 years, and that the results showed the Australian people would punish anyone who took them for granted. Mr Rudd said he had phoned Mr Abbott and wished him well. ‘I gave it my all but it was not enough for us to win’, he said. But he was pleased that Labor was preserved as a ‘viable fighting force for the future’. Mr Rudd retained his seat in the Brisbane constituency of Griffith but said he would not re-contest the Labor party leadership because the Australian people ‘deserve a fresh start’. ‘I know that Labor hearts are heavy across the nation tonight. As your Labor leader I accept it as my responsibility’, he said. The economy has been central to the election, amid fears the end of the mining boom could hit hard. The Australian Election Commission confirmed on its website that the Liberal-National coalition had won 88 seats in the House of Representatives, and Labor 57. Three seats were distributed between three small parties, and there were two seats still to return results. In the previous parliament, Labor relied on the support of independents and the Greens for its minority government, with 71 seats to the coalition’s 72. Source: BBC News http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-24000133
Abbott wins general election to end Labor’s six year hold on government
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