1. Skip to content
  2. Skip to main menu
  3. Skip to more DW sites

Australian Labor Party defeats ruling coalition

May 21, 2022

Australia's Labor Party has ousted the conservative party after nine years of rule. The major parties campaigned on cost of living, but voters swung toward climate-friendly independents.

Labor Party leader Anthony Albanese, center, celebrates with his son Nathan, right, and his partner Jodie Haydo
Anthony Albanese's Labor Party has returned to power for the first time in nine yearsImage: Rick Rycroft/AP/picture alliance

Australia's Labor Party emerged victorious in federal elections on Saturday, ousting Prime Minister Scott Morrison's conservative coalition, according to projections by the Australian Broadcasting Corporation.

Labor leader Anthony Albanese is expected to become the country's new prime minister. However, it is still not clear whether his party will command a majority in its own right or whether it will need to form a minority government.

Morrison concedes defeat, Labor still waiting on possible majority

Morrison conceded defeat after what he called a "difficult night" for his conservative government. 

"Tonight I have spoken to the leader of the opposition and the incoming prime minister, Antony Albanese, and I have congratulated him on his election victory," Morrison said. 

Australia, a federation of six states, follows the parliamentary system. It has 151 seats in the House of Representatives.

Minor parties and independents were scoring unusually well, increasing the chances of a hung parliament and minority government. A record number of postal ballots, owing to the COVID pandemic, will also not be counted until Sunday, which could become a factor in close local races.

Who are the main candidates?

The Labor Party leader Anthony Albanese told voters he was "humbled by this victory." 

"I want to unite the country," he said. "I think people want to come together, look for our common interest, look towards that sense of common purpose. I think people have had enough of division, what they want is to come together as a nation and I intend to lead that."

Albanese has pledged to tackle climate change, inflation and promised to hold a referendum on giving Indigenous people an institutional voice in national policymaking.

Morrison has also vowed to tackle inflation and promised better interest rates and cost of living. "It's a choice about who can best manage our economy and our finances because a strong economy is what guarantees your future," he told voters.

The third candidate is Adam Bandt of the Greens. 

The recent bushfires, floods, and droughts were on the minds of many voters as they went in to cast the ballot. 

"I grew up in a community that's been really heavily affected by the fires and the floods over the past five years," first-time voter Jordan Neville told the AFP news agency in Melbourne.

Voting is compulsory for adults in Australia.

The winner of the election is expected at a Quad summit Tokyo summit on Tuesday with US President Joe Biden, Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

UK first to congratulate Albanese

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson was the first world leader to congratulate Albanese.

He said he looked forward to working together in the wake of the free trade agreement and the AUKUS partnership.

In a statement, he wrote:

"Our countries have a long history and a bright future together. As thriving like-minded democracies, we work every day to make the world a better, safer, greener and more prosperous place."

"As we reap the rewards of our comprehensive Free Trade Agreement, the AUKUS partnership and the unmatched closeness between the British and Australian people, we do so knowing that the only distance between us is geographical."

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi congratulated Albanese on his win, saying he looked forward to cooperation in the Indo-Pacific region.

aw, tg/sms (AFP, AP, Reuters)