“I really want to change the country,” said Mr. Albanese, who is due to take office on Monday and fly to Tokyo soon after. He will participate there on Tuesday at the Quad summit (United States, Japan, India, Australia), and will meet separately with his Indian counterparts Narendra Modi and Japanese Fumio Kishida, as well as US President Joe Biden.
“It allows us to let the world know that there is a change of government,” he told reporters. “There will be some changes in policy, particularly around climate change and our engagement with the world on these issues,” he added.
But two days before this first official trip abroad, Mr. Albanese was still waiting on Sunday to find out if his Labor Party will have an absolute majority in the Australian Parliament, or if he will have to find allies to govern.
According to the partial official results, Labor could already count on Sunday on 74 seats in the House of Representatives, and had a slight lead in a 75th constituency.
The absolute majority (76 seats) in the Chamber, which has 151 deputies, therefore seemed within their reach, the outcome still being uncertain in more than ten constituencies.
– Burst of “teals” –
“The Australian people voted for change,” exulted 59-year-old Anthony Albanese on Sunday, whose victory ended nine years of Conservative government.
Outgoing Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s Liberal coalition lost many seats across the country.
But she had her worst defeats in constituencies that had until now been her preserve, facing a handful of independent candidates.
These candidates are nicknamed the “teals”, a term which means “teal” but which also designates the color between blue (of the conservatives) and green (of the environmentalists).
Most of them are women elected on pro-environment, anti-corruption and gender equality programs.
The outgoing Finance Minister, Josh Frydenberg, was notably humiliated in his stronghold of Melbourne by the “teal” Monique Ryan.
Ms Ryan said she was ready to support Mr Albanese’s government if it committed to a target of 60% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2030, and if it created six months a powerful federal anti-corruption agency.
“I’m really, really looking forward to working with him,” she said in a TV interview on Sunday.
Mr Albanese promised to cut emissions by 43% by 2030. His predecessor had been criticized for sticking to a target of -28% in 2030 compared to 2005.
– “Superpower” of renewable energies –
The ‘teals’ have tapped into the anger of affluent Sydney and Melbourne suburbs over Scott Morrison’s unconditional support for the coal industry, despite three years of global warming-aggravated fires, droughts and floods that have changed the lives of millions of people.
In his victory speech, Anthony Albanese promised to transform Australia into a renewable energy “superpower”.
But he has so far remained deaf to calls to end coal, which remains a driving force in the country’s economy and has many Labor supporters.
His victory was hailed by the leaders of several Pacific island countries, many of whose very existence is threatened by climate change.
“Among your many pledges of support for the Pacific, none is more welcome than your plan to prioritize climate. The common future of our peoples depends on it,” Fiji Prime Minister Frank Bainimarama said.
The climate skepticism displayed by the previous Australian Prime Minister had soured relations between Canberra and its neighbors and allies in the Pacific, a region where China is seeking to extend its influence.