Australia

Anthony Albanese promises the world a government that ‘represents change’ in first press conference as PM

Prime Minister Anthony Albanese remains hopeful of forming a majority government to lead the nation, but says key crossbench members have promised to back its legitimacy.
Mr Albanese fronted his first press conference as prime minister on Monday after being sworn in by Governor-General David Hurley at Government House.

He declared that his arrival as prime minister marked a message to the world that there was a new government in Australia “that represents a change”.

ANTHONY ALBANESE SWEARING IN CEREMONY

Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese is sworn in by Australian Governor-General David Hurley during a ceremony at Government House in Canberra, on Monday, 23 May, 2022. Source: AAP / LUKAS COCH/AAPIMAGE

“I want to bring people together and I want to change the way that politics is conducted in this country,” Mr Albanese told reporters.

“People do have conflict fatigue and I want to work with people, whether it’s the crossbench or the Opposition.”
Mr Albanese spoke at the press conference with.
ANTHONY ALBANESE PRESS CONFERENCE

Anthony Albanese made his press conference debut as Prime Minister flanked by the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander flags. Source: AAP / LUKAS COCH/AAPIMAGE

He also said he had held discussions with re-elected members of the crossbench – Rebekha Sharkie, Bob Katter, Andrew Wilkie and Zali Steggall – who committed confidence and supply to his government.
The commitments mean they have promised they would not support a no-confidence motion against the government, allowing them to function smoothly without this disruption.
“They will consider legislation on its merits. I expect that to be the case. I will treat them with respect,” he said.

Mr Albanese was sworn in on Monday alongside Deputy Prime Minister Richard Marles, incoming Foreign Minister Penny Wong, and new Treasurer Jim Chalmers and Finance Minister Katy Gallagher.

ANTHONY ALBANESE SWEARING IN CEREMONY

Prime Minister Anthony Albanese poses for photographs with interim ministers Penny Wong, Jim Chalmers, Richard Marles and Katy Gallagher after a swearing-in ceremony at Government House in Canberra. Source: AAP / LUKAS COCH/AAPIMAGE

Senator Gallagher has also been given the roles of the minister for women and acting attorney-general.

The Labor caucus will meet next Tuesday, with the full swearing-in of the new ministry to take place next week on Wednesday 1 June.

Mr Albanese and Senator Wong departed for Tokyo on Monday afternoon for the Quad meeting with President Joe Biden, host leader and Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

ANTHONY ALBANESE QUAD DEPARTURE

Prime Minister Anthony Albanese and Australian Foreign Minister Penny Wong wave as they board the plane to Japan to attend the QUAD leaders meeting in Tokyo, Canberra. Source: AAP / LUKAS COCH/AAPIMAGE

Ahead of the meeting, Senator Wong posted a video on social media to signal her commitment to relations with the Pacific region.

“I’ve become Foreign Minister at a time when our region faces unprecedented challenges, but we will face these challenges together,” she said.

“We want to help build a stronger Pacific family that’s why we will do more but we will also do it better – we will listen because we care.”

It comes after the election campaign had placed a spotlight on relations with the region after Solomon Islands’ signing of a security pact with the Chinese government became a flashpoint of debate.

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Anthony Albanese speaks with US President Joe Biden

Mr Albanese earlier said he had received a phone call last night from US President Joe Biden on Sunday night declaring that the “relationship with the United States is the most important”.
Ahead of the Quad alliance meeting, Mr Albanese was questioned about the potential for relations to improve with China from their recent turbulent history.
“What I have said, and we maintain, is that the relationship with China will remain a difficult one,” he said.
“It is China that has changed, not Australia and Australia should always stand up for our values and we will in a government that I lead.”

Mr Albanese has said he plans to use the Quad meeting to talk about his government’s ambitions to tackle climate change and pursue a stronger foreign policy focus on the region.

During their conversation on Sunday, Mr Biden reaffirmed US commitment to the US-Australia alliance.
“President Biden expressed deep appreciation for the Prime Minister-designate’s own early commitment to the alliance, reflected in his decision to travel almost immediately to Tokyo to attend the Quad Summit,” a US government readout of the call said.

On Monday morning, official figures from the Australian Electoral Commission had Labor on 75 seats in the House of Representatives – one short of a majority – but the party is projected to hold as many as 77.

Barnaby Joyce on future of Coalition with Liberals

Nationals leader Barnaby Joyce also faced media on Monday pressed about the future Coalition after its loss at the election.
“My preference is a Coalition that works best – a Coalition between two business partners,” he said.
He also defended the contribution of the Nationals towards the effort, saying they had won back every seat they had held at the last election.

“When we are in our seats we believe that we are overwhelmingly the last hope Obi-Wan Kenobi for the people who are doing it tough,” he said.

ELECTION22 SCOTT MORRISON ELECTION CAMPAIGN

Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce has defended the Nationals after the Coalition’s election loss. Source: AAP / MICK TSIKAS/AAPIMAGE

He was asked about whether the Nationals approach to climate change policy had played a role in several moderate Liberal MPs losing their seats at the election.

“I’m not in the Liberal party – I’m in the Nationals,” he said.
“People in inner urban areas are not that stupid that would realise that the Nationals are not actually standing in their seats.”
The Liberals and Nationals agreed to support net zero emissions by 2050 target during the last term, but it came after protracted negotiations over the deal and resistance from some members.

He said the policy would be reconsidered following the election, but that doesn’t mean it would be dropped.

The makeup of Australia’s next parliament

The Liberal-National coalition had 57 seats, with Scott Morrison set to stand down from the Liberal Party leadership once a party room meeting can be scheduled.

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He is widely expected to be replaced by outgoing defence minister Peter Dutton, who may face resistance from moderates in the party.
Former prime minister Malcolm Turnbull on Monday also responded to Mr Albanese’s win, praising him as a “good man”.
“It is a great honour and responsibility to lead our nation and you will do so in uncertain times,” he said.

“You are a good man and in the toughest times character is what counts.”

One of the first major events in the next two weeks will be a meeting with state premiers and territory chief ministers where Mr Albanese will set out the new federal government’s stance on more ambitious climate action.

He is also expected to hold an employment summit with the business community and unions focused on productivity and wages.

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The Labor government is facing a wave of incoming independent candidates and the increased presence of the Greens, who could hold the balance of power in the Senate.
Independent candidates have promised to push the government to deliver on three issues: a more ambitious climate policy, a national integrity commission and women’s equality.
Moderate Liberal and outgoing minister Simon Birmingham has said the party needed to step up its 2030 emissions target and do more to preselect women in safe seats.

The Greens, having secured a record primary vote, are on track to hold 12 Senate seats in the new parliament and up to five lower house seats.

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