Conservatives Sweep to Australia Election Victory
By Rod McGuirk
CANBERRA, Australia -- Australia's conservative opposition swept to power Saturday, ending six years of Labor Party rule and winning over a disenchanted public by promising to end a hated tax on carbon emissions, lift a flagging economy and bring about political stability after years of Labor infighting.
"I know that Labor hearts are heavy across the nation tonight, and as your prime minister and as your parliamentary leader of the great Australian Labor Party, I accept responsibility," Prime Minister Kevin Rudd said in a speech to supporters, after calling opposition leader Tony Abbott to concede defeat. "I gave it my all, but it was not enough for us to win."
A victory for the conservative Liberal Party-led coalition comes despite the relative unpopularity of Abbott, a 55-year-old former Roman Catholic seminarian and Rhodes scholar who has struggled to connect with female voters and was once dubbed "unelectable" by opponents and even some supporters.But voters were largely fed up with Labor and Rudd, after a years-long power struggle between him and his former deputy, Julia Gillard, who became the nation's first female prime minister after ousting Rudd in a party vote in 2010. She ended up losing her job to Rudd three years later in a similar internal party coup. The drama, combined with Labor reneging on an election promise by imposing a deeply unpopular tax on the nation's biggest carbon polluters, proved deadly for Labor's re-election chances. In his concession speech, Rudd said he would be stepping down as party leader. "The Australian people, I believe, deserve a fresh start with our leadership," he said. Former Labor Prime Minister Bob Hawke laid the party's loss to its inability to unite. "This is an election lost by the government rather than won by Tony Abbott," he told Sky News. With more than 90% of votes counted late Saturday night, official figures from the Australian Electoral Commission showed the Liberals ahead 53% to Labor's 47%. The coalition was on track to win 91 seats in the 150-seat House of Representatives, and Labor 54.
Select the service that is right for you!COMPARE ALL SERVICES
- $2.5+ million portfolio
- Large-cap and dividend focus
- Intraday trade alerts from Cramer
- Weekly roundups
Access the tool that DOMINATES the Russell 2000 and the S&P 500.
- Buy, hold, or sell recommendations for over 4,300 stocks
- Unlimited research reports on your favorite stocks
- A custom stock screener
- Upgrade/downgrade alerts
- Diversified model portfolio of dividend stocks
- Alerts when market news affect the portfolio
- Bi-weekly updates with exact steps to take - BUY, HOLD, SELL
- Real Money + Doug Kass + 15 more Wall Street Pros
- Intraday commentary & news
- Ultra-actionable trading ideas
- 100+ monthly options trading ideas
- Actionable options commentary & news
- Real-time trading community
- Options TV