Australia's centre-left Labor party says it will govern outright

SYDNEY, May 31 (Reuters) - Australia's centre-left Labor party has secured enough seats in the lower house of parliament to govern in its own right, the country's new prime minister said on Tuesday, letting it form government without the support of independents or minor parties.

Although the previous conservative coalition government conceded almost immediately after the May 21 vote, close results in some seats and high levels of postal voting had kept the final tally uncertain 10 days after the election.

Addressing a televised media conference on Tuesday evening, Prime Minister Anthony Albanese said that Labor had won 77 seats, a majority in the 151-seat House of Representatives.

Securing a majority lowers the risk for Labor that it would have to negotiate with a group of 16 crossbenchers - mostly climate-focused independents and Greens - to pass legislation, although it will still need to win additional support for legislation in parliament's upper house.

"Australians have placed their trust in us and that brings with it an enormous responsibility, an enormous responsibility to deliver on the commitments that we made, the commitments for which we have a clear mandate as part of a majority Labor government," Albanese told a meeting of Labor's parliamentary team on Tuesday morning.

Albanese had named an interim ministry of himself, Penny Wong, Jim Chalmers, Katy Gallagher and Richard Marles, less than two days after the election so he could attend a previously scheduled meeting of the Quad grouping in Japan, which also includes the United States, India and Japan. read more

Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese boards the plane to Japan to attend the QUAD leaders meeting in Tokyo, in Canberra, Australia, May 23, 2022. AAP Image/Lukas Coch via REUTERS

On Tuesday, Albanese confirmed Marles as Deputy Prime Minister, Wong as Foreign Minister, Chalmers as Treasurer, and Gallagher as Finance Minister. Marles will also be Defence Minister.

New appointments included Don Farrell in the trade portfolio, Clare O'Neill as Home Affairs Minister and Chris Bowen as Climate Change and Energy Minister.

The new ministry will be sworn in on Wednesday morning.

A day earlier, the two parties which make up the conservative coalition, the Liberal Party of Australia and the rural-focused National Party of Australia, elected new leaders after entering opposition for the first time in nine years.

The Liberals selected former police officer and former home affairs minister Peter Dutton to replace former Prime Minister Scott Morrison, who stepped down after the election defeat, while the Nationals chose David Littleproud to replace Barnaby Joyce.

Both leaders are from the state of Queensland where the coalition lost three seats to the Greens. The former government was on track to win 58 lower house seats, according to news outlets.

Reporting by Byron Kaye and John Mair; editing by Richard Pullin & Simon Cameron-Moore

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