Australia’s right-wing coalition loses power after election

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Australia’s right-wing coalition loses power after election

Australia's rightwing coalition government has lost power after nearly a decade in office, with Saturday s election showing a shift to progressive parties that will see a Labor administration formed with the support of climate-focused independents or Greens.

Within hours of the close of the polls closing, multiple election analysts said it was clear that the ruling coalition led by Scott Morrison's conservative Liberal Party and the rural-based National Party could not retain the 76 seats it held, which is the minimum required to form a parliamentary majority.

The Labor opposition appears to have outperformed the Coalition, but by Saturday evening it was not apparent that it could win a majority of seats in order to claim victory, which would have been its first at an election since 2007.

Labor leader Anthony Albanese is seen as the most likely to be able to form government, with results after four hours of voting indicating he needs the support of independent or minor party MPs to reach a majority.

The surge in support for the Greens party was the biggest surprise of the election. By Saturday night, the party, which has struggled to win more than the one seat it first picked up more than a decade ago, was on track to win three more seats, all focused on progressive areas of Brisbane.

While both major parties were not overly ambitious on climate action, the legacy of recent natural disasters across several states, including deadly bushfires and floods, seemed to resonate with inner city voters.

Morrison's Coalition appeared to have lost several seats to the teal independents running in traditionally safe Liberal party seats on a strong climate action platform, some backed by substantial funds from the Climate 200 organisation.

Many adopted the colour teal, nodding both to the traditional Liberal blue and their green credentials, and performed well in seats in affluent parts of Melbourne and Sydney.

Early results indicated that the teal independent movement could have taken as many as five seats from the government. If their leads are up, it would mean a decimation of the moderate faction of the Liberal party.

Among the liberal losses to these independents are prominent government MPs, including the country s treasurer Josh Frydenberg, who appeared to have lost his wealthy Melbourne seat of Kooyong to the independent Zoe Daniels, a former journalist.

Several of those facing challenges from these MPs warned party supporters that their ousting would only serve to shift the party further to the right, despite the Liberal party's position on climate.

Morrison was seen as focusing on voters in outer metropolitan, regional and mining seats, some former Labor strongholds, others held by the Nationals rather than shifting policy to appeal to moderate Liberals concerned with climate.

Albanese, who made much of his upbringing as a child of a single mother in Sydney public housing throughout the campaign, is a party stalwart from Labor's leftist faction, although far from a radical firebrand.

He said he was refocused last year after a near-fatal car crash near his home last year, and he has since made a point of his healthier diet and lifestyle while acceding to superficial image changes.

He has struggled to inject inspiration into Labor's campaign, which has kept its policy offering to a minimum after the ambitious program of his predecessor, Bill Shorten, was effectively torn down by Morrison at the 2019 election.

After six gruelling weeks on the hustings, both leaders began the election day with a last-minute campaign stop in marginal seats in Melbourne before they flew to Sydney to vote in the electorates they represent.