SYDNEY: Tony Abbott celebrated his election triumph with an early morning bike ride on Sunday, vowing to “get down to business” and be prime minister for all Australians after a divisive campaign that ended six years of tumultuous Labor rule.
Led by outgoing premier Kevin Rudd, Labor suffered a resounding defeat on Saturday’s polls as voters punished it for bitter in-fighting that saw Rudd oust Julia Gillard as party leader in June, three years after she did the same to him.
The election commission resumed counting votes after an overnight break, and with more than 90 percent tallied Abbott’s conservative coalition led in 88 seats and Labor was on 57 in the 150-seat House of Representatives.
Just hours after declaring Australia was “under new management and . . . open for business,” Abbott donned his sky blue and purple Lycra shorts and yellow helmet for a ride with his mates in Sydney.
“It was a very big night but this is just the start of another normal day and there’s going to be a fair bit of solid work this morning,” the prime minister-elect told reporters.
“People expect that the day after an election, an incoming government will be getting down to business and that’s what I’ll be doing today,” said Abbott, who is due to meet with his new ministers in the afternoon.
“I’ll be working on building a better future for a great country, building a strong Australia, a better Australia in the months and years ahead.”
The election outcome was a convincing win for the conservatives but Labor escaped the total rout pollsters had predicted. All cabinet ministers in the outgoing government held their seats despite a 3.5 percent swing to the coalition.
Abbott was expected to be sworn in officially by Gov. Gen. Quentin Bryce next week.