Australia's Labor Party leader, Anthony Albanese, was sworn in as the country's 31st prime minister on Monday, promising a journey of change as he pledged to tackle climate change, rising living costs and inequality.
Labor returns to power after nine years in opposition after a wave of unprecedented support for the Greens and climate-focused independents, mostly women, helped end nearly a decade of rule by the conservative coalition in Saturday's general election.
Albanese was sworn in on Tuesday, so he could attend a key meeting of the Quad security grouping in Tokyo, despite the fact that votes are still being counted and the makeup of government is yet to be finalised.
Albanese, raised in public housing by a single mother on a disability pension, was sworn in by Governor-General David Hurley at a ceremony in Canberra.
Albanese told reporters outside his Sydney suburban home that it was a big day in my life, but a big day for the country, when we change the government. I want to bring people with us on the journey of change because of the opportunity that we have to shape change. The outcome was already priced in and there was no radical change in the economic course, with Australian financial markets offering a muted reaction to the election verdict on Monday.
The Reserve Bank of Australia's economic forecasts and call on it are unchanged despite the change in national leadership, according to economists at the Commonwealth Bank of Australia.
Deputy Labor leader Richard Marles and three key ministers - Penny Wong in foreign affairs, Jim Chalmers as treasurer and Katy Gallagher in finance - were also sworn in, with Wong joining Albanese on the Quad trip.
Albanese said he spoke to the U.S. President Joe Biden on Sunday night and was looking forward to meeting him alongside the prime ministers of Japan and India on Tuesday. He will return to Australia on Wednesday.
This visit aligns with what the Albanese government sees as the three pillars of Australia's foreign policy: our alliance with the United States, our engagement with the region, and our support for multilateral forums, Albanese said in a statement.
Labor's campaign focused heavily on Albanese's working-class credentials and his image as a pragmatic unifier.
Center-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. The counting of a record 2.7 million postal votes is under way on Sunday, with official results could be several days away.
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