CANBERRA (CU)_Just over a week ago, Australia’s Labour Leader Anthony Albanese claimed victory in the federal election held on 21 May, defeating incumbent Prime Minister Scott Morrison. Albanese, who became the fourth leader to win government for the Labour Party since the Second World War, has also managed to secure a majority in parliament, election analysts say.
This year’s election was one that transformed the country’s political landscape, with a record vote for independents and minor parties. Therefore, it was initially uncertain whether PM Albanese would govern in his own right, but it has now been revealed that he has managed to secure the 76 lower house seats needed.
However, this is not the case in the Senate, where the new PM’s administration would need crossbench support to pass laws. This is after about a third of Australians voted for candidates outside the major parties, with Greens and independents running on climate platforms securing increased support from climate-conscious voters.
Last week, PM Albanese flew to Tokyo, in his first foreign policy trip to meet the leaders of the US, India and Japan, for the second in-person summit of the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue, colloquially known as the Quad. Tackling China’s growing influence in the Pacific is among the key focus areas of his government which is looking to shore up ties with countries across the region.
On the subject of climate change, the Labour leader has vowed to adopt more ambitious emissions reduction targets, but has refused to phase out the use of coal or to block the opening of new coal mines in Australia. Nevertheless, voters appear to take the view that Albanese’s Labour party is more capable of handling the climate crisis. Morrison lost power after losing almost 20 seats at the recent election, including traditional conservative cities, where climate policies were seen as a key factor.