Tuesday, April 16, 2024

Australia: New leader Anthony Albanese to change climate policy

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Australia’s new leader has vowed to take the country in a new direction, with a big shift in climate policy.

Anthony Albanese, who won Saturday’s election with the opposition centre-left Labor Party, said Australia could become a renewable energy superpower.

He is to be sworn in as PM on Monday, but it is not clear whether his party will have a majority in parliament.

Climate change was a key concern for voters, after three years of record-breaking bushfire and flood events.

Outgoing PM Scott Morrison, the leader of an ousted Liberal-National coalition, thanked the “miracle of the Australian people” after conceding.

Vote counting is still going on, and it is unclear whether Labor can get 76 seats to secure a majority in the 151-member lower house of parliament.

Final results may not be known for several days, as electoral officials have just started counting nearly three million postal votes.

If the election results in a hung parliament, Greens and independents – who have been campaigning for radical climate change action – could wield greater influence in framing the new government’s policies on the issue.

Speaking to the BBC’s Shaimaa Khalil shortly after his election victory, Albanese, 59, said: “We have an opportunity now to end the climate wars in Australia.

“Australian business know that good action on climate change is good for jobs and good for our economy, and I want to join the global effort.”

Albanese, who will be heading Australia’s first Labour government in almost a decade, also promised to adopt more ambitious emissions targets.

However, he has so far refused calls to phase out coal use, or to block the opening of new coal mines. (BBC)

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