Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Australia Finally has a Prime Minister

Julia Gillard was officially sworn in today by Governor-General Quentin Bryce as Australia's first elected female Prime Minister. The federal election took place on August 21st but neither Labor nor the Coalition got the required 76 seats in the House of Representatives to form government. As a result, Australia had its first hung parliament since 1940. Since both parties were stuck on 72 seats, it all came down to which party the six elected Independent and Green MPs would side with to get them over the line. After 17 days the final 3 Independent MPs announced their preferences, and Labor got the two final seats that they needed to form a minority government. It will be interesting to see how Gillard holds together this bare majority and gets her policy agenda through the legislative process. The results will also make things interesting for the Victorian state election in November. Will Labor lose even more inner-city Melbourne seats to the Green Party? Could there be another hung parliament?

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