Australia's Labor Party leader Anthony Albanese has been sworn in as the country's new prime minister as he promised a "journey of change" vowing to tackle climate crisis and rising living costs.
Along with Albanese, deputy Labor leader Richard Marles and three key ministers in waiting –– Penny Wong in foreign affairs, Jim Chalmers as treasurer and Katy Gallagher in finance –– were sworn in on Monday at a ceremony in the national capital, Canberra.
Albanese was sworn in a few hours before flying out to attend an international summit in Tokyo. Albanese, who says Australia is willing to engage with the world on climate crisis, is joining a summit on Tuesday with the US, Japanese and Indian leaders, known as the Quad.
"It's a big day in my life but a big day for the country, when we change the government," Albanese told reporters outside his Sydney suburban home ahead of the ceremony.
"I want to channel the opportunity that we have to shape change so that we bring people with us on the journey of change. I want to bring the country together."
Albanese said he spoke to US President Joe Biden on Sunday night and was looking forward to meeting him during the Quad summit on Tuesday alongside the prime ministers of Japan and India.
He will return to Australia on Wednesday.
Back after nine years in opposition
Labor will retake power after nine years in opposition as a wave of unprecedented support for the Greens and climate-focussed independents, mostly women, helped end nearly a decade of rule by the conservative coalition.
Labor's campaign heavily spotlighted Albanese's working-class credentials –– a boy raised in public housing by a single mother on a disability pension –– and his image as a pragmatic unifier.
Centre-left Labor still remains four seats short of a majority of 76 in the 151 seat lower house with about a dozen races too close to call, according to television channels.
Some predicted Labor might get enough seats to govern on their own.
Official results could be several days away, with the counting of a record 2.7 million postal votes underway on Sunday.