Australia Votes 2007: Rudd to become 26th Prime Minister

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Kevin Rudd, Australia's Prime Minister-elect.
Image: David Jackmanson.
Wikinews Australia has in-depth coverage of this issue: Election 2007

Kevin Rudd is set to become Australia's 26th Prime Minister after his Labor party defeated John Howard's Liberal/National coalition on Saturday. Mr Howard was the Australian PM for 11 years.

Mr Rudd easily secured the 16 seats Labor needed to win in the House of Representatives, recording a nationwide swing of 6.3 percent.

The victory makes Labor's deputy leader Julia Gillard Australia's first female Deputy Prime Minister.

Giving a concession speech in Sydney, Mr Howard said he took full responsibility for his government's demise. "I accept full responsibility for the Liberal party campaign, and I therefore accept full responsibility for the Coalition's defeat in this election campaign," he said.

Mr Howard told party supporters that he wished for Peter Costello, the Howard government's treasurer to succeed him as leader of the Liberal party.

"The only other thing that I want to say is that the Liberal party of course will need to find a new leader, and I wish that person well, whoever that is, and I've indicated very clearly in my earlier remarks who I believe that person should be. I believe the future of our party does lie very much with Peter Costello and with others who will come in behind him."

Mr Howard congratulated Mr Rudd on his election win and reflected upon his government's past 11 and a half years. "This is a great democracy and I want to wish Mr Rudd well," Howard said.

"We bequeath to him a nation that is stronger and prouder and more prosperous than it was 11-1/2 years ago."

Mr Howard also conceded that it was "very likely" he would lose his own seat of Bennelong to Labor candidate Maxine McKew. Should Ms McKew win the seat, it will be the first time Bennelong has been held by Labor since its creation in 1949. It would also be only the second time in Australian political history that a Prime Minister has lost his own seat in parliament, the last Prime Minister to suffer such a fate was Stanley Bruce in 1929.

Shortly after Mr Howard's concession, Prime Minister-elect Kevin Rudd delivered a victory speech in Brisbane. Mr Rudd promised to represent all Australians and thanked his predecessor John Howard for his contribution to Australia.

"Today Australia has looked to the future, will be a prime minister for all Australians," said Rudd.

"I want to acknowledge now for the entire Australian nation and publicly recognise Mr Howard's extensive contribution to public service in Australia."

The incoming Prime Minister also thanked Australia's allies and said he looked forward to working with them.

I look forward as the next Prime Minister of Australia to working with them in dealing with the great challenges, which our world faces.

"I extend our greetings tonight to our great friend and ally the United States, to our great friends and partners across Asia and the Pacific".

House of Representatives results

  • Total divisional seats: 150
  • Primary votes counted: 75.6%
  • Remaining "declaration" votes are still to be counted over the next several days.[1]
Party Seats won (2007) Seats likely or doubtful Seats last election Popular vote
Labor 83 2 60 44.07%
Liberal 48 5 74 35.94%
Nationals 10 0 12 5.40%
Independent 2 0 3 2.21%
Greens 0 0 0 7.64%
Family First 0 0 0 1.98%
CLP/Territory 0 0 1 0.31%
Total 143 7 150 97.55%
Sources: ABC, AEC 24/11/2007 23:20 UTC

Senate estimate

Party/Coalition Continuing seats New seats Total seats
Liberal/National coalition 19 18 37
Labor 14 18 32
Greens 2 3 5
Family First 1 0 1
Other 0 1 1
Total 36 40 76
Sources: ABC