CANBERRA (BLOOMBERG) – Left-aligned parties and independent lawmakers will hold the balance of power in Australia’s Senate following last month’s election, in a win for new Prime Minister Anthony Albanese and his Labor party.
Centre-left Labor and the Australian Greens will hold 38 out of the 76 seats in Australia’s upper house of parliament after the final distribution of vote preferences on Monday (June 20).
If both parties agree, then Mr Albanese will only need to convince pro-climate action independent senator David Pocock or Tasmanian populist Jacqui Lambie to support any new legislation.
Like the US and Britain, all legislation in Australia must pass through two houses of Parliament – the House of Representatives and the Senate.
While Labor holds a narrow majority of 77 seats in the House, the government’s agenda will have to pass through the Senate to become law.
The left-wing majority in the Senate will likely help Mr Albanese deliver on his election promises to increase foreign aid, widen access to childcare and put in place a national anti-corruption commission.
However, the new Senate could complicate the prime minister’s climate action agenda. While Albanese has committed to cut emissions by 43 per cent by 2030, Pocock has supported calls for cuts of 60 per cent and the Greens want even stricter action – 70 per cent by the same year.
Speaking to Australia’s Nine Network on Friday, Mr Albanese said he will not budge on his target.
“If the Greens or other parties want to try and block it, well so be it. That will be a matter for them. But we will get on,” he said.