Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison conceded election defeat Saturday. Morrison acknowledged a “difficult” and “humbling” day for his Liberal party, which has governed Australia for the last decade.
“Tonight I have spoken to the leader of the opposition and the incoming prime minister, Anthony Albanese, and I have congratulated him on his election victory,” he told supporters in Sydney.
Morrison addressed a crowd which included former Prime Minister John Howard. “I still believe in miracles as I always have. And the biggest miracles as I said three years ago were standing beside me and here they are again tonight with Jenny and my daughters. They are the greatest miracle in my life,” Morrison said.
Morrison added that he took responsibility for the loss of the Liberal Party and confirmed he would step down as leader after taking control in 2018.
“That is the burden and that is the responsibility of leadership. As a result I will be handing over the leadership at the next party room meeting to ensure the party can be taken forward under new leadership which is the appropriate thing to do,” he said.
“To all of those who have been elected again tonight, you carry forward that Liberal mantle. You carry forward that Coalition flag. And I can only see myself continuing to support you in those efforts because the country will need you in the years ahead.”
Just before midnight, Labour Party leader Anthony Albanese walked out to cheers from his supporters and said he would seek to unite the nation. “I will work every day to bring Australians together. And I will lead a government worthy of the people of Australia.”
He added: “I can promise all Australians this no matter how you voted today, the government I lead will respect every one of you every day.”
Amanda McKenzie, CEO of the research group the Climate Council, declared climate action the winner of the vote. “Millions of Australians have put climate first. Now, it’s time for a radical reset on how this great nation of ours acts upon the climate challenge,” she said in a statement.
UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson tweeted: “Congratulations @AlboMP on your election as Prime Minister of Australia. I look forward to working with you as we reap the rewards of our comprehensive Free Trade Agreement, the AUKUS partnership and the unmatched closeness between the British and Australian people.”
The UK Labour Party leader Keir Starmer tweeted: “A positive campaign by @AustralianLabor, ends almost a decade of stale Conservative rule. You showed that Australia deserves better. Huge congratulations to @AlboMP and our sister party Australian Labor!”
ARTICLE: PAUL MURDOCH
MANAGING EDITOR: CARSON CHOATE
PHOTO CREDITS: NEW YORK TIMES