Pacific Islands leaders will be hoping that the swearing in of Australia’s new Prime Minister, Anthony Albanese tomorrow morning will herald a new era in climate action from Australia.
Fiji Prime Minister, Frank Bainimarama congratulated the Labor Party leader on his victory via Twitter this afternoon, writing, “Of your many promises to support the Pacific, none is more welcome than your plan to put the climate first.”
Albanese is expected to visit Fiji for the Pacific Islands Forum leaders meeting, which is currently scheduled for mid-July.
Last night Albanese told reporters “we’re ready to govern”, and that climate change should no longer be a controversial issue in Australia.
“We have an opportunity now to end the climate wars in Australia,” he said.
Climate change was central to the election, with a number of independent (or so-called “teal”) candidates focusing their campaigns on the need for action on climate and corruption.
Counting continues, and it is currently unclear whether Labor will be able to govern alone, or will need to form a coalition with independents or Green Party candidates. The Greens increased their primary vote in this election.
The outgoing Liberal-National Party Coalition had lost 20 seats at the time of writing.
Labor’s victory may also see a change of direction when it comes to geopolitical issues such as the Solomon Islands security pact, with Penny Wong, who is expected to be sworn in a foreign minister tomorrow, critical of the outgoing government’s handling of that matter.
Changes to the Pacific Australia Labour Mobility Seasonal Worker Program and permanent migration pathways to Australia for people from Pacific Island nations are also anticipated.