After miracle win, the work starts
Scott Morrison: In the end, all the heavy lifting paid off for the Prime Minister
Scott Morrison hailed the Coalition’s shock election win as a “miracle”, on a disastrous night for the Labor Party.
Despite every poll and political pundit predicting a comfortable Labor win, the Coalition is set to form either a minority or majority government with 73 confirmed seats to Labor’s 66 from 75 percent of the counted votes.
The Greens kept the seat of Melbourne, while five have been won by independents or minor parties, including Zali Steggall, who ousted former Prime Minister Tony Abbott in Warringah. Five seats remain too close to call as of Sunday afternoon.
The incumbent government enjoyed strong swings in Queensland, picking up two extra seats, along with two seats in Tasmania. With more than 65 percent of the votes on Saturday night, the Coalition secured a 1.2 percent two-party preferred swing.
No tech or industry-focused minister or MP from either major party lost their seat, with industry minister Karen Andrews, treasurer Josh Frydenberg and shadow digital economy minister Ed Husic all retaining their seats.
In the senate, Greens digital spokesperson Jordon Steele-John looks set to retain his seat, although the final spread in the upper house will not be revealed for some time.
Labor leader Bill Shorten called Mr Morrison to concede the election late on Saturday night, and announced he would be stepping down as opposition leader after six years in the job. Labor will now hold a leadership ballot to decide its next leader, with shadow infrastructure minister Anthony Albanese already announcing he would contest.
Addressing party faithfuls after the election win, Mr Morrison said it was a victory for the “quiet Australians”.
“They have their dreams, they have their aspirations, to get a job, to get an apprenticeship, to start a business, to meet someone amazing, to start a family, to buy a home, to work hard and provide the best you can for your kids, to save for your retirement,” Mr Morrison said.
“These are the quiet Australians who have won a great victory. Tonight is about every single Australian who depends on their government to put them first.”
It’s unclear when Mr Morrison will unveil his new Cabinet, but he’s likely to wait until the remaining lower house seats have been decided, and there is a better picture of how the new Senate will look.
He will need to appoint a new minister responsible for digital transformation, with Michael Keenan not recontesting his seat at the election. The position was relegated to outside Mr Morrison’s cabinet as part of the reshuffle.
There will also likely be major changes in the shadow ministry, with Kim Carr serving as shadow industry minister and Ed Husic as shadow digital economy minister during the election campaign.
The sector will also have to wait to see whether it will get its seventh industry minister since the Coalition took the top office in 2013, although it’s unlikely the Coalition will move Karen Andrews from the position.
It is also likely to appoint a new junior minister in the portfolio to oversee more tech-related policies.
Tech and innovation did not feature prominently during the election campaign, but the Coalition will now push ahead with the small number of policies in the space that it did announce, and continue with its previous policies.
It will commit $100 million towards the Australian Business Growth Fund, which will provide “patient capital” to SMEs and has been dubbed “startup policy by stealth”.
It will also top-up the Export Market Development Grant scheme with $60 million in funding, and provide $156 million towards cybersecurity initiatives.
It will also look to move forward its planned small business tax cuts, along with the further $1.3 billion it plans to carve out from the research and development tax incentive scheme over the forward estimates.
Mr Shorten delivered his concession speech just before midnight.
“I want to say to our Labor movement and our Labor party, all of you can say this: we worked incredibly hard, we advanced ideas, we campaigned on a positive vision," Mr Shorten said.
"We were upfront and clear about the reforms that both sides of politics have ignored for decades,” he said.
“We have said loud and clear that Australia needs and needed to take real action on climate change. We are a resilient and proud movement and we never give up.”