James Grubel Canberra
Australia’s incoming conservative government promised yesterday to reboot a stalled mining boom and revive an appetite for investment after leader Tony Abbott swept into office on a platform to scrap a mining tax and run a stable administration.
Abbott’s Liberal-National Party coalition ended six years of often turbulent Labor Party rule and three years of minority government, winning a majority of more than 30 seats in the 150-seat parliament at Saturday’s national election. It was Labor’s worst result since 1934.
Abbott, a former student boxer, Rhodes scholar and trainee priest, began his first day as prime minister elect with a dawn bike ride with friends around his home on Sydney’s northern beaches, before meeting government and ministry officials.
“People expect the day after an election an incoming government will be getting down to business. That’s what I’ll be doing today,” he told reporters.
Abbott, who was backed by media owner Rupert Murdoch and his Australian newspapers, takes office as Australia’s economy adjusts to the end of a mining investment boom, with slowing government revenues and rising unemployment.
But finance spokesman Andrew Robb, who may become the trade minister in the new government, said the economy and mining sector would receive a boost from the result.
“As of today, the mining boom will be rebooted,” he told Australian television, adding that the country had become uncompetitive under the Labor Party. “We will restore appetite for risk and investment.”
Analysts said the victory for Abbott should give him at least two three-year terms in office. “The only time we’ve had a one-term government is during the Great Depression. There is no reason to expect they won’t go beyond the three years,” Monash University analyst Nick Economou said.
Despite his solid victory, Abbott’s government will not have a majority in the upper house Senate, where he is likely to face a disparate range of minor parties and independents with the balance of power from July 2014. Labor and the Greens will control a Senate majority until next July.