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Australian Labor topples conservatives; PM faces early tests

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A man casts his ballot at an inner Sydney polling station, Australia, Saturday, May 21, 2022. Australians go to the polls following a six-week electio...
Voters arrive in the rain at a polling station in inner Sydney, Australia, Saturday, May 21, 2022. Australians go to the polls following a six-week el...
A daughter helps her father cast his vote at a polling booth in Sydney, Australia, Saturday, May 21, 2022. Australians go to the polls Saturday follow...
Citizens cast their votes at a polling booth in Sydney, Australia, Saturday, May 21, 2022. Australians go to the polls Saturday following a six-week e...
An electoral official prepares voting ballots at a polling booth in Sydney, Australia, Saturday, May 21, 2022. Australians go to the polls Saturday fo...
Jim Finn holds his eight-month-old daughter Allegra as he casts his vote at a polling booth in Sydney, Australia, Saturday, May 21, 2022. Australians ...
Voters queue outside at a polling booth at Bondi Beach in Sydney, Australia, Saturday, May 21, 2022. Australians go to the polls Saturday following a ...
A woman cats her vote at a polling booth in Sydney, Australia, Saturday, May 21, 2022. Australians go to the polls Saturday following a six-week elect...
A surfer runs past a polling booth in Sydney, Australia, Saturday, May 21, 2022. Australians go to the polls Saturday following a six-week election ca...
Jim Finn holds his eight-month-old daughter Allegra as he casts his vote at a polling booth in Sydney, Australia, Saturday, May 21, 2022. Australians ...
Labor Party leader Anthony Albanese holds his dog, Toto, after he and his partner Jodie Haydon, left, voted in Sydney, Australia, Saturday, May 21, 20...
Labor Party leader Anthony Albanese, center, shakes hands with a voter he and his partner Jodie Haydon, left, arrive a polling place to cast their bal...
Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison speaks during a press conference after voting in his electorate of Cook in Sydney, Australia, Saturday, May 2...
Volunteers stand outside a polling station as they wait for Australian Prime Minister to vote in Sydney, Australia, Saturday, May 21, 2022. Australian...
Labor Party leader Anthony Albanese holds his dog, Toto, after voting in Sydney, Australia, Saturday, May 21, 2022. Australians go to the polls follow...
Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison poses for a selfie after voting in his electorate of Cook in Sydney, Australia, Saturday, May 21, 2022. Austr...
Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison waits to cast his vote at a polling booth in his electorate of Cook in Sydney, Australia, Saturday, May 21, 2...
A voter casts their ballot at an inner Sydney polling station, Australia, Saturday, May 21, 2022. Australians go to the polls following a six-week ele...
Jim Finn holds his eight-month-old daughter Allegra as he casts his vote at a polling booth in Sydney, Australia, Saturday, May 21, 2022. Australians ...
Jim Finn is assisted by his eight-month-old daughter Allegra as he casts his vote at a polling booth in Sydney, Australia, Saturday, May 21, 2022. Aus...
Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison hugs his daughters Lily and Abbey at a Liberal Party function in Sydney, Australia, Saturday, May 21, 2022. M...
Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison address a Liberal Party function with his wife Jenny and daughter's Lily and Abbey in Sydney, Australia, Satu...
Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison waves as he arrives at a Liberal Party function in Sydney, Australia, Saturday, May 21, 2022. Morrison has co...
Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison waves as he leaves the stage with his wife Jenny and daughters Lily and Abbey at a Liberal Party function in ...
Labor Party leader Anthony Albanese speaks to supporters at a Labor Party event in Sydney, Australia, Sunday, May 22, 2022, after Prime Minister Scott...
Labor Party leader Anthony Albanese, center, celebrates with his son Nathan, right, and his partner Jodie Haydon at a Labor Party event in Sydney, Aus...
Labor Party leader Anthony Albanese, right, kisses his partner partner Jodie Haydon while thanking supporters at a Labor Party event in Sydney, Austra...
Supporters cheer at a Labor Party event following the close of the polling places in Sydney, Australia, Saturday, May 21, 2022. Australians voted foll...
Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison hugs his daughters Lily and Abbey at a Liberal Party function in Sydney, Australia, Saturday, May 21, 2022. M...
Labor Party leader Anthony Albanese speaks to supporters at a Labor Party event in Sydney, Australia, Sunday, May 22, 2022, after Prime Minister Scott...
Labor Party leader Anthony Albanese, center back, speaks to supporters at a Labor Party event in Sydney, Australia, Sunday, May 22, 2022, after Prime ...
Albo branded beer cans are stacked on a table at a Labor Party event following the close of the polling places in Sydney, Australia, Saturday, May 21,...
at a Labor Party event following the close of the polling places in Sydney, Australia, Saturday, May 21, 2022. Australians voted following a six-week ...
A man takes a drink of Albo branded beer at a Labor Party event following the close of the polling places in Sydney, Australia, Saturday, May 21, 2022...

A man casts his ballot at an inner Sydney polling station, Australia, Saturday, May 21, 2022. Australians go to the polls following a six-week electio...

Voters arrive in the rain at a polling station in inner Sydney, Australia, Saturday, May 21, 2022. Australians go to the polls following a six-week el...

A daughter helps her father cast his vote at a polling booth in Sydney, Australia, Saturday, May 21, 2022. Australians go to the polls Saturday follow...

Citizens cast their votes at a polling booth in Sydney, Australia, Saturday, May 21, 2022. Australians go to the polls Saturday following a six-week e...

An electoral official prepares voting ballots at a polling booth in Sydney, Australia, Saturday, May 21, 2022. Australians go to the polls Saturday fo...

Jim Finn holds his eight-month-old daughter Allegra as he casts his vote at a polling booth in Sydney, Australia, Saturday, May 21, 2022. Australians ...

Voters queue outside at a polling booth at Bondi Beach in Sydney, Australia, Saturday, May 21, 2022. Australians go to the polls Saturday following a ...

A woman cats her vote at a polling booth in Sydney, Australia, Saturday, May 21, 2022. Australians go to the polls Saturday following a six-week elect...

A surfer runs past a polling booth in Sydney, Australia, Saturday, May 21, 2022. Australians go to the polls Saturday following a six-week election ca...

Jim Finn holds his eight-month-old daughter Allegra as he casts his vote at a polling booth in Sydney, Australia, Saturday, May 21, 2022. Australians ...

Labor Party leader Anthony Albanese holds his dog, Toto, after he and his partner Jodie Haydon, left, voted in Sydney, Australia, Saturday, May 21, 20...

Labor Party leader Anthony Albanese, center, shakes hands with a voter he and his partner Jodie Haydon, left, arrive a polling place to cast their bal...

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison speaks during a press conference after voting in his electorate of Cook in Sydney, Australia, Saturday, May 2...

Volunteers stand outside a polling station as they wait for Australian Prime Minister to vote in Sydney, Australia, Saturday, May 21, 2022. Australian...

Labor Party leader Anthony Albanese holds his dog, Toto, after voting in Sydney, Australia, Saturday, May 21, 2022. Australians go to the polls follow...

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison poses for a selfie after voting in his electorate of Cook in Sydney, Australia, Saturday, May 21, 2022. Austr...

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison waits to cast his vote at a polling booth in his electorate of Cook in Sydney, Australia, Saturday, May 21, 2...

A voter casts their ballot at an inner Sydney polling station, Australia, Saturday, May 21, 2022. Australians go to the polls following a six-week ele...

Jim Finn holds his eight-month-old daughter Allegra as he casts his vote at a polling booth in Sydney, Australia, Saturday, May 21, 2022. Australians ...

Jim Finn is assisted by his eight-month-old daughter Allegra as he casts his vote at a polling booth in Sydney, Australia, Saturday, May 21, 2022. Aus...

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison hugs his daughters Lily and Abbey at a Liberal Party function in Sydney, Australia, Saturday, May 21, 2022. M...

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison address a Liberal Party function with his wife Jenny and daughter's Lily and Abbey in Sydney, Australia, Satu...

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison waves as he arrives at a Liberal Party function in Sydney, Australia, Saturday, May 21, 2022. Morrison has co...

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison waves as he leaves the stage with his wife Jenny and daughters Lily and Abbey at a Liberal Party function in ...

Labor Party leader Anthony Albanese speaks to supporters at a Labor Party event in Sydney, Australia, Sunday, May 22, 2022, after Prime Minister Scott...

Labor Party leader Anthony Albanese, center, celebrates with his son Nathan, right, and his partner Jodie Haydon at a Labor Party event in Sydney, Aus...

Labor Party leader Anthony Albanese, right, kisses his partner partner Jodie Haydon while thanking supporters at a Labor Party event in Sydney, Austra...

Supporters cheer at a Labor Party event following the close of the polling places in Sydney, Australia, Saturday, May 21, 2022. Australians voted foll...

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison hugs his daughters Lily and Abbey at a Liberal Party function in Sydney, Australia, Saturday, May 21, 2022. M...

Labor Party leader Anthony Albanese speaks to supporters at a Labor Party event in Sydney, Australia, Sunday, May 22, 2022, after Prime Minister Scott...

Labor Party leader Anthony Albanese, center back, speaks to supporters at a Labor Party event in Sydney, Australia, Sunday, May 22, 2022, after Prime ...

Albo branded beer cans are stacked on a table at a Labor Party event following the close of the polling places in Sydney, Australia, Saturday, May 21,...

at a Labor Party event following the close of the polling places in Sydney, Australia, Saturday, May 21, 2022. Australians voted following a six-week ...

A man takes a drink of Albo branded beer at a Labor Party event following the close of the polling places in Sydney, Australia, Saturday, May 21, 2022...

CANBERRA, Australia (AP) — Australia’s center-left opposition party toppled the conservative government after almost a decade in power, and Prime Minister-elect Anthony Albanese in his Saturday election victory speech promised sharper reductions in greenhouse gas emissions while he faces an early foreign policy test.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison said he quickly conceded defeat despite millions of votes yet to be counted because an Australian leader must attend a Tokyo summit on Tuesday with U.S. President Joe Biden, Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Albanese, who has described himself as the only candidate with a “non-Anglo Celtic name” to run for prime minister in the 121 years that the office has existed, referred to his own humble upbringing in the Sydney suburb of Camperdown.

“It says a lot about our great country that a son of a single mom who was a disability pensioner, who grew up in public housing down the road in Camperdown can stand before you tonight as Australia’s prime minister,” Albanese said.

“Every parent wants more for the next generation than they had. My mother dreamt of a better life for me. And I hope that my journey in life inspires Australians to reach for the stars,” he added.

Albanese will be sworn in as prime minister after his Labor party clinched its first electoral win since 2007.

Labor has promised more financial assistance and a robust social safety net as Australia grapples with the highest inflation since 2001 and soaring housing prices.

The party also plans to increase minimum wages, and on the foreign policy front, it proposed to establish a Pacific defense school to train neighboring armies in response to China’s potential military presence on the Solomon Islands on Australia’s doorstep.

It also wants to tackle climate change with a more ambitious 43% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2030 and net zero emissions by 2050.

Morrison's Liberal party-led coalition was seeking a fourth three-year term. It held the narrowest of majorities — 76 seats in the 151-member House of Representatives, where parties need a majority to form a government. In early counting on Saturday, the coalition was on track to win 51 seats, Labor 72, 10 were unaligned lawmakers and 18 were too close to call.

The major parties bled votes to fringe parties and independents, which increases the likelihood of a hung parliament and a minority government.

Australia most recent hung parliaments were from 2010-13, and during World War II.

The minor Australian Greens party appeared to have increased its representation from a single seat to three.

The Greens supported a Labor minority government in 2010, and will likely support a Labor administration again if the party falls short of a 76-seat majority.

As well as campaigning against Labor, Morrison’s conservative Liberals fought off a new challenge from so-called teal independent candidates to key government lawmakers’ reelection in party strongholds.

At least four Liberal lawmakers appeared to have lost their seats to teal independents including Liberal Party deputy leader Josh Frydenberg, who had been considered Morrison’s most likely successor.

“What we have achieved here is extraordinary,” teal candidate and former foreign correspondent Zoe Daniels said in her victory speech. “Safe Liberal seat. Two-term incumbent. Independent,” she added.

The teal independents are marketed as a greener shade than the Liberal Party’s traditional blue color and want stronger government action on reducing Australia’s greenhouse gas emissions than either the government or Labor are proposing.

The government’s Senate leader Simon Birmingham was concerned by big swings toward several teal candidates.

“It is a clear problem that we are losing seats that are heartland seats, that have defined the Liberal Party for generations,” Birmingham said.

“If we lose those seats — it is not certain that we will — but there is clearly a big movement against us and there is clearly a big message in it,” Birmingham added.

Due to the pandemic, around half of Australia’s 17 million electors have voted early or applied for postal votes, which will likely slow the count.

Early polling for reasons of travel or work began two weeks ago and the Australian Electoral Commission will continue collecting postal votes for another two weeks.