Kevin Rudd has resigned from the Labor leadership after suffering the party’s worst election defeat in a hundred years. Despite an upbeat concession speech, the Labor party now only has about 57 seats compared to the Liberal National coalition’s 88 seat in the House of the Representatives. This election also sees the rise of some minor parties especially the Palmer United Party which has one seat in both houses of Parliament. The Greens and Katter’s Australia Party also hold one seat each in the House of Representatives along with being accompanied by two independents.
Tony Abbott with his wife and daughters after his election victory speech
Prime Minister elect Tony Abbott has met with his department chiefs and key members of the upcoming government in setting his agenda before he is officially sworn in the Governor-General early next week. Parliament is also expected to be recalled for its first sitting in late October or early November. Although more than two thirds of the national ballot has been counted there are still several seats that are too close to call for both the Liberal and Labor parties.
Rupert Murdoch commenting on the election results
The composition of the Senate will be a more complex formation in contrast to the House of Representatives with the Coalition unable to secure an outright majority. Minor parties including the Sports Party, Australian Motoring Enthusiasts, Palmer United and Liberal Democrats in addition to The Greens are expected to test Tony Abbott’s negotiation skills. The Green’s Adam Bandt retained the seat of Melbourne. Clive Palmer is expected to win the seat of Fairfax in Queensland based on preferences. Labor MP Michelle Rowland held off a strong challenge from puzzled Liberal candidate Jaymes Diaz in the marginal Western Sydney seat of Greenway. Barnaby Joyce successfully makes the move from Senate to the lower house. Nova Peris becomes the first indigenous woman in parliament after securing the second Senate spot in the Northern Territory for Labor.
Julia Gillard breaking her silence to congratulate Tony Abbott
The Labor party will now have to rebuild with many calling for an end to the Rudd-Gillard era tensions with the consensual selection of a new leader. Contenders to be opposition leader include power broker Bill Shorten and outing deputy PM Anthony Albanese. Current Senator Bob Carr who is attending the G20 in St. Petersburg is expected to resign and be replaced by union leader Paul Howes. Liberal deputy leader Julie Bishop has indicated that there are no obvious plans for Kevin Rudd to be a foreign diplomat. The main agendas for Tony Abbott is scrapping the carbon tax which is likely to be blocked in the Senate by Labor and The Greens leading to a possibility of a double dissolution election next year.