Australia’s embattled government suffers state vote ‘bloodbath’
Australia’s embattled minority government has suffered a further blow after a big loss in a crucial state poll ahead of national elections next year.
The Labor government for Victoria, Australia’s second-most populous state, was returned to power in a landslide after elections on Saturday.
Provisional results collated by national broadcaster ABC pointed to a 4.8 percent swing to Labor, and for the left-leaning party to hold 55 seats in the 88-seat state assembly — a result one minister described as a “bloodbath”.
“We shouldn’t be in this position — we did a lot of things right but obviously something’s gone horribly wrong,” Shadow Attorney-General John Pesutto, from the Liberal Party, told the ABC.
“We’re going to clearly have to do a root-and-branch review, top to bottom, of all of this.”
The ruling federal Liberal-National coalition is still reeling from having ousted former prime minister Malcolm Turnbull in August.
Turnbull’s removal saw him quit politics and trigger a by-election in his wealthy Sydney seat in November which the Liberals lost, sending them into a minority government.
Federal Health Minister Greg Hunt would not attribute the Victorian defeat to the Turnbull turmoil — the sixth change of national leaders in the last decade — and said local issues determined the outcome.
The conservative coalition has to call national elections by mid-May next year, with the Wentworth and Victoria losses pointing to a possible crushing defeat against the main opposition party Labor.
Source : AFP