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Friday August 19, 2022

PM-elect vows to repair Australia’s image overseas

By AFP
May 23, 2022

Sydney: Incoming prime minister Anthony Albanese vowed to reset Australia’s relations with the world and sweep aside the country’s reputation as a climate laggard on Sunday, as he raced to form a government in time for a key Tokyo summit.

Fresh from a victory that ended a decade of continuous conservative rule, Albanese signalled an era of fairer, greener and less pugilistic politics for Australia. The 59-year-old Labour leader said Saturday’s election was a "big moment" in his life, but insisted he wanted it to be "a big moment for the country."

"I do want to change the country," he said as he waited to see whether his Labour party can command a majority in parliament or will need help from climate-minded independents.

Images of smouldering eucalypt forests, smog-enveloped cities and blanched-out coral reefs have made Australia a byword for climate-fuelled destruction.

Under conservative leadership, the country -- already one of the world’s largest gas and coal exporters -- has also become synonymous with playing the spoiler at international climate talks.

But Albanese put the world on notice that it should now expect a change. He and key ministers are expected to be sworn in on Monday, just in time to attend a summit with Japanese, Indian and US leaders -- the so-called Quad.

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