Anthony Albanese will today be sworn in as Australia’s 31st prime minister, as his incoming Labor government takes power after almost a decade of Coalition rule.
- Anthony Albanese and four frontbenchers will be sworn into office today
- Mr Albanese and Penny Wong will later head to Tokyo for a meeting with world leaders
- The Liberal Party is on the hunt for its new leader
The weekend’s election result has the Liberal Party on the hunt for a new leader, with Peter Dutton emerging as the most likely replacement for Scott Morrison.
Mr Albanese will be sworn in with his deputy, Richard Marles, and frontbenchers Penny Wong, Jim Chalmers and Katy Gallagher.
He and Senator Wong, the incoming foreign affairs minister, will fly to Japan later today to meet with the leaders of the Quad — the United States, India and Japan.
“Traveling to the Quad meeting in week one means how important we believe this partnership is for our security,” Senator Wong said in a statement.
“And we will be taking new energy and much more to the table — including our commitment to act on climate change after a lost decade.”
US President Joe Biden phoned Mr Albanese late on Sunday, congratulating him on the win and thanking him for choosing to travel to Tokyo for the meeting.
The five politicians will hold all the portfolios until Mr Albanese swears in his full frontbench.
Mr Chalmers will be the new treasurer and Senator Gallagher the finance minister.
There has been uncertainty about what role Mr Marles, the incoming deputy prime minister, will hold. As deputy leader, he can pick his portfolio from him and there is speculation he wants to return to defense.
Mr Albanese wants national cabinet to meet in person in the coming weeks as he sets about implementing his agenda.
Dutton emerging as next Liberal leader
Liberal sources have told the ABC that Mr Dutton, who served as a senior cabinet minister throughout the Coalition’s three terms, has emerged as the frontrunner to replace Mr Morrison.
Treasurer Josh Frydenberg was among the biggest victims of the Coalition’s loss, losing both his seat and the likely leadership of the Liberals in opposition.
The ABC has been told by sources that, without Mr Frydenberg, Mr Dutton appeared to have the numbers to become leader.
Sources have also told the ABC that South Australian Senator Anne Ruston is being touted as a possible deputy to Mr Dutton, with Liberals conceding they need to do more to get women into their ranks.
About half the Liberal women in the lower house lost their seats in this election, fueling the need for a woman to play a senior role in the leadership.
Cabinet ministers Karen Andrews and Sussan Ley’s names have also been touted, but their support in the party room remains unclear.
The Liberal Party’s greatest losses came thanks to teal independents—women who wiped out moderate Liberals from eleven-safe seats in Sydney, Melbourne and Perth.
Liberal sources expect Mr Frydenberg will mount a political comeback but his path back to the parliament remains unclear.
“I still have fire in my belly,” he said on Sunday morning, while refusing to concede until postal votes were counted.
New parliament brings mixed Labor fortunes
Labor has lost two women from its cabinet ranks, with Kristina Keneally’s attempt to be parachuted into a safe Western Sydney seat failing, and Terri Butler losing her Brisbane seat to the Greens.
The Greens will enter the next parliament with record numbers in their ranks. The party will hit a high-water mark of 12 in the Senate, where it now holds the balance of power.
Thanks to gains in Queensland, the party has also added to its lower house seats.
Labor had a big night in Perth, wiping out Coalition cabinet ministers and once-safe, prized Liberal seats.
Attorney-General Michaelia Cash, the deputy Liberal leader in the Senate, blamed Mr Morrison for the party’s fortunes in the west.
She said his decision to initially back Clive Palmer’s legal action against WA’s closed border proved costly, with Mr Morrison’s close confidant Ben Morton losing his Perth seat.
“We — Senator Cash and Mr Morton — did not support siding with Clive Palmer but the decision was made that we would,” she said.
Crossbench keen to flex its muscle
As of Monday morning, Labor was yet to reach the 76 seats needed to form government.
If it falls short, it will need the support of the crossbench to pass legislation in the House of Representatives.
However, if it is unable to reach an agreement with the Coalition, it will need the Greens and, likely, Jacqui Lambie to pass legislation in the Senate.
Incoming teal independents Monique Ryan, who defeated Mr Frydenberg, Zoe Daniel, who defeated Tim Wilson, and Allegra Spender, who defeated Dave Sharma, have said they want the incoming government to take greater steps to address climate change.
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