SYDNEY: Australia’s opposition leader Anthony Albanese claimed victory on Saturday in national elections.

“The Australian people have voted for change. I am humbled by this victory,” he told cheering supporters in Sydney.

Albanese vowed to make Aust­ralia a renewable energy “superpower”, give indigenous people a voice in national policy-making, and make equal opportunity for women a national priority.

Albanese recalled his childhood, brought up by a single mother in Sydney public housing.

“My mother dreamt of a better life for me. And I hope that my journey in life inspires Australians to reach for the stars,” the 59-year-old said.

“I want Australia to continue to be a country that no matter where you live, who you worship, you would love, or what your last name is, that places no restrictions on your journey in life.“We can take advantage of the opportunity for Australia to be a renewable energy superpower,” said the centre-left Labor Party leader.

Albanese has promised to cut carbon emissions by 43 percent by 2030 from 2005 levels, boost renewables, offer discounts for electric cars, and help build community-owned solar power and battery projects.

His party also plans to tighten up a mechanism to ensure polluters keep their emissions below historical levels.

But Labor has made no promise to close coal mines in the fossil fuel-dependent nation.

Morrison concedes defeat

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison admitted defeat in national elections and said he was stepping down as leader of his conservative Liberal Party.

“Tonight I have spoken to the leader of the opposition and the incoming prime minister, Anthony Albanese, and I have congratulated him on his election victory,” Morrison said.

The 54-year-old outgoing leader, who won an election three years ago that he termed a “miracle”, said he took responsibility “for the wins and the losses”.

“That is the responsibility of leadership and as a result I will be handing over the leadership,” Morrison said.

Noting that voter support had fallen for the major parties, the prime minister said Australians had suffered “great upheaval” over the past few years, which have been marked by the Covid-19 pandemic, drought, bushfires and floods.

“It has imposed a heavy price on our country and on all Australians. And I think all Australians have felt that deeply,” he said.

Morrison’s voice cracked with emotion as he thanked his wife Jennifer and his daughters, “the loves of my life”.

“I have no doubt under strong leadership of our coalition, three years from now I am looking forward to the return of a coalition government. “

Published in Dawn, May 22nd, 2022

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