By Colin Packham
SYDNEY (Reuters) – Australia’s conservative coalition was on Monday poised to secure an outright majority following a shock election victory, allowing Prime Minister Scott Morrison to progress his legislative agenda without the support of independents.
Morrison’s coalition defied forecasts to be re-elected on Saturday in what he called a political miracle.
The Australian Electoral Commission (AEC) on Monday said Morrison’s coalition has won 75 seats in Australia’s parliament, one seat short of a 76-seat majority.
The AEC said the coalition is ahead in two of the five seats that have not been declared.
Respected Australian Broadcasting Corporation election analyst Antony Green said the Morrison’s coalition will hold these leads, allowing it to select a parliamentary speaker and retain a majority.
The expected result sent Australian banking, property and health-related stocks to an 11-year high on Monday as investors cheered.
After a long and bitter election campaign, Morrison said Australians have had enough of politics.
“They’ve had their say, they’ve made their decision. Now they expect us to get on with it so they can get on with their lives,” Morrison told 2GB Radio in Sydney. “That’s what the quiet Australians have said and I’m going to honour that.”
One of Morrison’s first tasks after being sworn in will be a cabinet reshuffle after the retirement of several front-benchers. The personnel shift will be closely watched for signs of policy changes.
“The cabinet reshuffle will indicate whether he plans to move on polices such as climate change,” said Rodney Tiffen, Emeritus Professor of Political Science, University of Sydney.
“A big signal will be whether he moves the ministers for environment and energy. If he replaces them with people who have argued for stronger action, it will be marker.”
Morrison has rejected efforts to increase the use of renewables to generate electricity, arguing it would damage the economy which relies on coal-fired power and mining exports.
The coalition has stuck to an official target to cut carbon emissions by 26-28% from 2005 levels by 2030, but the United Nations has warned Australia was unlikely to meet this goal.
The defeated opposition Labor party campaigned on more aggressive targets, aiming to cut carbon emissions by 45 percent by 2030 and reach 50 percent renewable power by 2030.
The re-elected Liberal-led coalition has no renewable energy target beyond 2020.
(Reporting by Colin Packham; Editing by Michael Perry)