CANBERRA, Australia, July 10 (UPI) — Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull claimed victory Sunday, eight days after the election.
The Australian Electoral Commission called the winners of all 150 seats, showing the ruling conservative Liberal Party, in coalition with the rural-based Nationals, had secured the 76 seats of Parliament needed to govern. The opposition Australian Labor Party won 69 seats, and the remaining five went to smaller parties or independent candidates. The commission still must wait up to 13 days after the election for votes cast by mail.
“This is great day today. It’s a great day to thank the Australian people for the decisions they’ve taken in this election, and to commit to them anew our absolutely unrelenting determination to ensure that this parliament delivers good government, wise legislation and builds on the strengths of our economy to ensure that truly our greatest days are yet ahead of us,” Turnbull told reporters in a nationally televised news conference.
Turnbull spoke after opposition Labor leader Bill Shorten conceded defeat.
Shorten said he congratulated Turnbull and said his party would work with the coalition
“where there is common ground.”
Turnbull recounted the phone conversation with Shorten.
“I know many people probably think I am an unduly sentimental fellow, sentimental bloke perhaps,” he said. “But I was touched, deeply touched by the fact that when Bill rang I literally had my, our little granddaughter on my hip.”
“It is a beautiful reminder that we are trustees… for future generations,” he said. “We’re trustees for our little grandchildren and of course their grandchildren. To me it was a very powerful reminder of something I’ve said before which is that politics is not about us the politicians.”
“And it’s not about the media or the political commentators or the pundits or the pollsters. It’s about the Australian people…Everything we do, is about the future. Everything.”
The country seemed headed for a hung parliament.
But after more than a million postal votes were counted, the ruling coalition pulled marginally ahead.
In the national two-party county, Liberal/National had 50.13 percent (5,354,596) compared with 49.87 percent (5,326,4930) for Labor.