close
Advertisement
Can't connect right now! retry

add The News to homescreen

tap to bring up your browser menu and select 'Add to homescreen' to pin the The News web app

Got it!

add The News to homescreen

tap to bring up your browser menu and select 'Add to homescreen' to pin the The News web app

Got it!

World

APP
May 18, 2019

Early Australia results make election too close to call

World

APP
Sat, May 18, 2019

SYDNEY: Early results in Australia's hard-fought election indicated the result was too close to call Saturday, with ruling conservatives outperforming polls that pointed to a solid Labor victory.

The ruling Liberal-National coalition and Labor party were neck-and-neck, according to Australian Electoral Commission projections, with many battlegrounds yet to declare.

Exit polls had pointed to a win for Labor after six years of conservative rule, but early results showed a fractured electorate with minor populist and rightwing parties playing an outsized role.

With voting mandatory in Australia, around 16.4 million people are believed to have cast their ballots across the vast island-continent.

Labor leader Bill Shorten, voting in Melbourne, was bullish about forming a majority government after a final poll before the election showed the lead for his party increasing.

"Today is the people's day," he said.

"Be it buying a ''democracy sausage'', the kids having a bit of a sugar cake or what have you, and voting," he added, referring to the tradition of serving grilled sausages on election day.

"In the event that the people of Australia voted to stop the chaos and voted for action on climate change, we will be ready to hit the ground from tomorrow." But as results from the northeastern state of Queensland trickled in, it became clear the Liberals had done better than expected.

Weeks ago, Prime Minister Scott Morrison had been heading for an electoral drubbing. But he has closed the gap with a negative campaign and backing from the country's biggest media organisation -- owned by Rupert Murdoch -- mainly targeting older, wealthier voters who face fewer tax breaks under Labor.

Australia is one of the most vulnerable of all developed nations to climate change and a season of record floods, wildfires and droughts has brought the issue from the political fringes to front and centre of the campaign.

In traditionally more conservative rural areas, climate-hit farmers are increasingly demanding action, while in several rich suburbs, a generational shift has seen eco-minded candidates running Liberal party luminaries close.

In northern Sydney, former prime minister Tony Abbott -- who once described climate change as "crap" -- lost a seat he has held for a quarter century to independent challenger Zali Steggall, a lawyer and Olympic medallist in Alpine skiing.

While admitting his own defeat, mainly over the climate issue, Abbott claimed there had been a "realignment" in Australian politics with Liberals winning more of the working class vote, adding: "I''m not going to let one bad day spoil 25 years".