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Labor scrapes to victory as Morrison resigns as leader

Labor scrapes to victory as Morrison resigns as leader

The prime minister Scott Morrison has conceded victory to Labor, which will form government either in its own right or as a minority.

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Bernard Keane writes in Crikey

Anthony Albanese will be Australia’s next prime minister after a chaotic night of election results delivered government to Labor — though without it yet being clear whether it will govern in minority or majority.

The night saw a swing against both parties that delivered a huge number of independents and saw the Liberal Party heartland turn savagely on Scott Morrison.

“I’ve been underestimated my whole life,” Prime Minister-elect Anthony Albanese told a throng of True Believers as Labor celebrated a return to power after nine years in the wilderness.

Time and again, Albanese turned to his origin story, of a boy who grew up in public housing now set to become the most powerful man in the country.

“I hope that my journey in life inspires Australians to reach for the stars.”

“No matter where you live or where you come from, in Australia the doors of opportunity are open to us all.”

“And like every Labor government we’ll just widen that door a bit more.”

The Coalition is facing a nationwide swing of 5%, but the bulk of it has gone not to the ALP, which has only picked up six seats net so far, but most prominently to an array of “teal” independents, six of whom will enter the House of Representatives after a night of slaughter for Liberal moderates: Josh Frydenberg, Tim Wilson, Jason Falinski, Dave Sharma, Trent Zimmerman and Celia Hammond in Perth all lost — comfortably — to teal independents, and to the Greens, who have picked up a nationwide 2% swing and a 2.7% swing in Queensland.

Labor was unable to capitalise on the strong swing against the government, picking up only half a dozen seats on the east coast and losing two to the Greens and set to lose Longman as well. However, it picked up Boothby in South Australia and three seats in WA, with the possibility of a fourth leaving it tantalisingly close to outright victory.

On a day described by putative opposition leader Peter Dutton as a “terrible day”, the collapse left Morrison with fewer than 70 seats and struggling to get far above 60. Just before 11pm, Morrison announced he was stepping down as Liberal leader, effectively conceding the election despite the lack of a formal concession to Labor.

Bernard Keane

Politics Editor @BernardKeane

Bernard Keane is Crikey’s political editor. Before that he was Crikey’s Canberra press gallery correspondent, covering politics, national security and economics.

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