Australia's PM declares victory, Labor concedes defeat

Malcolm Turnbull, Australia's Prime Minister, declares victory on Sunday eight days after polls close, while the Labor party concedes defeat following a tight race.

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull speaks during a news conference in Sydney, Australia, July 10, 2016.

Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull declared victory for the ruling conservatives after the Labor party conceded defeat despite early counting results swinging in their favour.

Turnbull’s coalition is expected to win two of the five seats still in doubt, enabling it to form a majority government, after having already won 74 of the 150 lower house seats available in the poll.

"We have won the election," Turnbull told a news conference in Sydney.

"We have gone through this election with fiercely fought arguments, issues of policy, issues of principle and we have done so peacefully and it's something we should celebrate."

Turnbull’s gamble in calling the election backfired, with a swing to the center-left Labor opposition and a rise in the popularity of minor parties and independents.

Due to Turnbull's narrow margin of victory over Labor he might be forced to rely on independents, who won five seats, to ensure the passage of legislation, calling into question the effectiveness of his government.

Labor, on course to win 69 seats, conceded defeat.

"It is clear that Mr Turnbull and his coalition will form a government," its leader, Bill Shorten, told a news conference.

Despite opposing much of the coalition’s growth and jobs agenda, Labor and several independents vowed not to disrupt the new parliament.

"We need to ensure that all the vital government services are provided, and at the same time, we have to ensure we bring our budget back into balance," said Turnbull.

Some proposed legislation could see revisions owing to the difficult legislative channels following the election, government figures said.

Standard and Poor’s slashed Australia’s credit rating outlook to negative from stable last week, threatening a downgrade of its coveted triple A status, over a potential budget deadlock.

"We really want to see them start achieving some of their forecasts," S&P official Anthony Walker told a briefing, adding that the cost of refinancing Australia's debt is up to three times more than its foreign currency earnings.

Australia’s politics have in recent years been dogged with a “revolving door” of prime ministers. Four different leaders have served since 2013 as parties removed sitting prime ministers.

Turnbull became the nation’s fourth prime minister since 2013 when he surpassed Liberal leader Tony Abbott in a party vote last September.



TRTWorld and agencies