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Australian PM’s Labor Party Finally Gets Parliament Majority

·2 min read

(Bloomberg) -- Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese’s Labor Party is set to clinch a parliamentary majority more than a week after the federal election, giving his government the heft to push through bills on issues ranging from climate change to anti-corruption measures.

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After days of counting ballots in tightly contested seats, Labor is projected to hold the seat of Macnamara in the heart of Melbourne, according to Australia’s ABC. That means it will secure the 76 out of 151 seats needed for a majority in the lower house of parliament.

The main opposition Liberal National coalition now has 57 seats, while the Greens and a slew of climate-focused independents made record gains by grabbing once-safe electorates from the main parties.

Two more seats have yet to be called. Even with a majority, Labor will take power with likely the weakest margin for an incoming government since World War II. Albanese will also still need to negotiate all legislation through the Senate, where a dozen Greens senators will likely hold veto power over Labor’s agenda.

Albanese is currently finalizing his list of cabinet ministers, who are set to be sworn in on Wednesday in Canberra. It’s likely to have the highest number of women in any ministry in Australia’s history, after three new female members were announced on Monday.

Labor made headway in the elections with measures that include a mandate for childcare and higher spending on affordable housing. However it has yet to show measures on boosting the economy’s productive capacity that will be crucial to reining in deficits and lifting living standards.

The new government’s plans will come under scrutiny from the opposition Liberal National coalition, which has touted its track record in steering the economy. While the A$2.2 trillion ($1.6 trillion) economy is now larger than pre-pandemic, has more people in work and consumer spending is solid, households and government have racked up heavy debts when borrowing costs were low -- a pressure point for the Labor Party.

(Updates with cabinet plans in 4th paragraph)

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