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CANBERRA, Australia (AP) – Australia’s ruling conservative coalition won a surprise victory in the country’s general election on Saturday, defying opinion polls that had tipped the centre-left opposition party to oust it from power and promising an end to the revolving door of national leaders.
Opposition Labor Party leader Bill Shorten conceded defeat late in the evening as Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s Liberal Party-led coalition came close to a majority in Australia’s 151-seat House of Representatives, where parties need a majority to form a government. Vote counting was to continue on Sunday.
Labor - Government - Interest - While - Scott
“It is obvious that Labor will not be able to form the next government and so, in the national interest, a short while ago, I called Scott Morrison to congratulate him,” Shorten told distraught Labor supporters.
The tight race raised the prospect of the coalition forming a minority government. The conservatives became a rare minority government after they dumped Malcolm Turnbull for Morrison in an internal power struggle last August. The government then lost two seats and its single-seat majority as part of the blood-letting that followed.
Opinion - Polls - Coalition - Bid - Term
Pre-election opinion polls had suggested that the coalition would lose its bid for a third three-year term, and that Morrison would have had one of the shortest tenures as Prime Minister in the 118-year history of the Australian federation.
There was so much public confidence of a Labor victory that Australian online bookmaker Sportsbet paid out 1.3 million Australian dollars ($900,000) to bettors who backed Labor two days before the election. Sportsbet said 70 per cent of wagers had been placed on Labor at odds of $1.16.
Betting - Agency - Record - AU - Wager
A rival betting agency said he had accepted a record AU$1 million wager on Labor.
Shorten, who campaigned heavily on reducing greenhouse gas emissions, said Saturday morning that he was confident Labor would win, but Morrison would not be drawn on...
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