Australia's conservative PM concedes election defeat

Agence France-Presse

Posted at May 21 2022 11:46 PM

 Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison conducts morning television interviews on Federal Election day, in the seat of McEwen in Melbourne, Australia, on May 21, 2022. Mick Tsikas, EPA-EFE
Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison conducts morning television interviews on Federal Election day, in the seat of McEwen in Melbourne, Australia, on May 21, 2022. Mick Tsikas, EPA-EFE

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison admitted defeat in national elections Saturday and said he was stepping down as leader of his conservative Liberal Party.

"Tonight I have spoken to the leader of the opposition and the incoming prime minister, Anthony Albanese, and I have congratulated him on his election victory," Morrison said.

The 54-year-old outgoing leader, who won an election three years ago that he termed a "miracle", said he took responsibility "for the wins and the losses".

"That is the responsibility of leadership and as a result I will be handing over the leadership," Morrison said.

Noting that voter support had fallen for the major parties, the prime minister said Australians had suffered "great upheaval" over the past few years, which have been marked by the Covid-19 pandemic, drought, bushfires and floods.

"It has imposed a heavy price on our country and on all Australians. And I think all Australians have felt that deeply," he said.

Morrison's voice cracked with emotion as he thanked his wife Jennifer and his daughters, "the loves of my life".

"I have no doubt under strong leadership of our coalition, three years from now I am looking forward to the return of a coalition government."