Kevin Rudd concedes defeat in Australian election
Updated: 2013-09-07 21:39
Australia's conservative leader Tony Abbott gestures as he walks to the stage to claim victory in Australia's federal election during an election night function in Sydney September 7, 2013.[Photo/Agencies]
CANBERRA - Prime Minister Kevin Rudd conceded his ruling Labor Party's defeat in 2013 Australian federal election on Saturday night.
"A short time ago I telephoned Tony Abbott to concede defeat at these national elections. As PM of Australia I wish him well now in the high office of PM of this country," Rudd told supporters in his hometown Brisbane, Queensland.
"As your PM and as your parliamentary leader of the great Australian Labor Party (ALP) I accept responsibility. I gave it my all but it was not enough for us to win. I'm proud that despite all the prophets of doom that we have preserved our federal parliamentary Labor Party as a viable fighting force for the future," he added.
He also confirmed that he would step down as Labor leader. " There comes a time when you know you've given it your all... for me that time is now. So I will not be re-contesting the leadership of the parliamentary Labor Party," he said.
While Rudd retained his seat of Griffith, his party was swept from power after six years in office.
After Rudd's announcement in Brisbane, leader of the opposition Coalition Tony Abbott claimed victory at a gathering in Sydney. "I declare that Australia is under new management," he said.
He said his new government will be sworn in "in a week or so". He also acknowledged Kevin Rudd's service to the people of the nation.
"I now look forward to forming a government that is competent, that is trustworthy, and which purposefully and steadfastly and methodically sets about delivering on our commitments to you, the Australian people," Abbott added.
"Today we can deliver real change. I ask for your support to build a stronger Australia and a better future for all Australians, " Abbott said on his twitter earlier Saturday.
Some Labor MPs have already conceded the defeat shortly after the election.
According to the Australian Associated Press, Defence Minister Stephen Smith was the first to admit Labor would lose at 6.05 p.m., minutes after polling booths closed in eastern Australia.
"The government will be defeated tonight," Smith, who is retiring, told ABC television.
Former Labor Prime Minister Bob Hawke told Sky TV it was a sad day for the Labor Party.
"Sad, because we had a very good period back there in the 1980s and 1990s," he said. "I really believe this is an election lost by the government rather than won by Tony Abbott."
The Coalition has won more than 76 seats of the 150-seat House of Representatives, which is enough to form government in their own right, according to Sky TV.
Before Rudd's announcement, the exit poll of Sky News pointed to a clear win for Tony Abbott's Liberal-National Coalition.
The Sky News/Newspoll exit poll showed the opposition will win 97 seats, a 25-seat gain, while Labor will lose 21 seats and have only 51 seats in the lower house.