Interview: What does the election result means for Australia's politics?

08:14, August 25, 2010      

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Neither Labor Party nor the Coalition has won enough seats to win the Aug. 21 Australian federal election, which means Australia is set for a hung parliament in 70 years.

"The early indications are that Labor lost support with a campaign that was hijacked by former leaders, especially with the focus on former (ousted) Prime Minister Kevin Rudd," Professor Zareh Ghazarian, senior political analyst of Monash University in Australia told Xinhua in an exclusive interview on Tuesday.

At the same time, the election result also indicates voters did not seem to endorse Coalition Leader Tony Abbott as the next prime minister.

Meanwhile, the media lately expected the emerging of a hung parliament marks a likely change in immigration intake and mining resources tax policy in Australia.

In terms of immigration, the Labor Party vowed to form a " sustainable, small" Australia, while Coalition planned to reduce net migration to 170,000 a year, which is a huge decrease from the peak of 300,000 in 2008.

In terms on receiving the numbers of international students to Australia, the major parties have policies that understand the importance of international students coming to Australia.

According to Prof Ghazarian, not only is there an economic factor, but also international students contribute to strengthening cultural ties, and therefore the major parties will continue to seek to attract students to study in Australia.

Labor introduced the 30 percent mining resources tax in the campaign, and the Coalition has pledged to scrap the mining tax if elected. Whether to introduce a mining tax has remained a major issue to the mining industry not only in Australia, but internationally.

However, Prof Ghazarian said the government will work to ensure that Chinese investors find Australia an attractive place to do business, especially following this initial period of uncertainty about which party will form government after the election.

"Once arrangements are made about which party will govern, it will be business as usual in terms of attracting investors to Australia," Prof Ghazarian said.

In terms of foreign policy, both major parties understand the importance of building and maintaining Australia's close relationship with China, especially in terms of trade and defense.

"I would not expect Australia's position on this matter to change significantly under a Labor or Coalition government," Prof Ghazarian said.

"The major parties will seek to continue to build a close and productive relationship with China. I believe this process will continue even with a minority government."

Counting of vote will continue until the end of the week. So far, the Australian Electorate Commission has counted 78.76 percent of primary votes, with Labor and Liberal/National Party both winning 70 seats in the 150-seat parliament.

Source: Xinhua


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