Melbourne | Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull today declared victory for his conservative coalition in the closely fought general election after opposition Labor leader Bill Shorten conceded defeat. Shorten called Turnbull to congratulate him and concede electoral defeat even as the vote counting was underway, according to media reports here.
We’ve won the election, that’s what we’ve done. The most important people to thank are the Australian people because we have resolved this election, Turnbull said. Earlier today, Bill Shorten called me and congratulated me on being re-elected as Prime Minister and I thank Bill for that call, he said. Votes are still being counted, but the Liberal-National coalition has won74 seats in the 150-seat House of Representatives and Labor was at66 seats with five seats still too close to call.
The coalition needs 76 seats to claim a majority in the lower house, the House of Representatives. It is something we should celebrate, but not take for granted that here in Australia we settle these big political issues, we settle who sits in our parliaments, we settle who governs our country, and we do so peacefully through our democratic processes, Turnbull said.
Noting that the election was a tough business, Turnbull welcomed Shorten’s calls for common ground in parliament. I have spoken to Turnbull early this afternoon to congratulate him and Lucy, and to wish them the very best, Shorten said. He said his party was willing to work to find common ground with the Government and that Australians deserved nothing less.
I understand we need to make this parliament function and we’ll be up for that, Shorten said, adding that hisLabor partywould stickto its guns on key issues such as Medicare. I expect them to do nothing less than to keep their promises they made to the Australian people. And as I said, I wish Malcolm Turnbull well in what the future holds, he said.
Shorten said they had a mandate to stand up for Medicare to make sure schools are properly funded and to prioritise Australian jobs. One thing which unites Turnbull and I is our love of Australia and our huge respect for our democracy.
Therefore I want to thank the Australian people, he said. Thanking his voters, Shorten saidI want to reassure them, that despite Labor not winning enough seats this time, that the Labor party will stick true to its core values, its and promises and beliefs.
He further said that he would write Turnbull to suggest adopting electronic voting system for the country in order to speed up the results which should not hang in the balance for so long.