Tony Abbot wins Australia election
The conservative leader and trainee priest made a landslide election victory over the opposition.
SYDNEY/CANBERRA - Australia's conservative leader Tony Abbott swept into office in a landslide election on Saturday as voters punished the outgoing Labour government for six years of turbulent rule and for failing to maximise the benefits of a now fading mining boom.
Abbott, a former boxer, Rhodes Scholar and trainee priest, promised to restore political stability, cut taxes and crack down on asylum seekers arriving by boat.
But it was frustration with Labour's leadership turmoil that cost the government dearly at the polls.
Labour dumped Prime Minister Kevin Rudd in 2010, for Australia's first female Prime Minister Julia Gillard, only to reinstate Rudd as leader in June 2013 in a desperate bid to stay in power.
"This was an election that was lost by the government more than one that was won by the opposition," former Labour Prime Minister Bob Hawke told Sky News.
Election officials said with about 65 percent of the vote counted, Abbott's Liberal-National Party coalition had won around 54 percent of the national vote, and projected it would win at least 77 seats in the 150-seat parliament.
Party analysts said Abbott would end up with a majority of around 40 seats, ending the country's first minority government since World War Two. Labour had relied upon independent and Greens support for the past three years.
The election was been pitched as a choice on who is best to lead the A$1.5 trillion economy as it adjusts to an end to a prolonged mining investment boom, fuelled by China's demand for its abundant natural resources.