Liberal party races ahead of ruling Labor in Australian polls

Last Updated: Monday, August 30, 2010 - 00:42

Melbourne: The Liberal party of Tony
Abott on Sunday raced ahead of the ruling Labor party after its
candidate Ken Wyatt today became the first Indigenous person
to be elected to the Australian parliament, even as the
political deadlock entered the second week.

With the election of the Liberal candidate the party`s
score in the cliff hanger general elections have gone up to 73
seats, with ruling Labor party winning 72 in the 150-member
House of Representatives.

Meanwhile, Wyatt became the first Indigenous person to
be elected to the House of Representatives after grabbing
Perth seat of Hasluck.

Australians voted in the country`s first hung
parliament in 70 years at the August 21 polls -- delivering
Tony Abbott`s Liberal/National coalition 73 seats and Prime
Minister Julia Gillard`s centre-left Labor 72, but giving
neither the 76 seats needed to rule.

According to an ABC report, Wyatt addressed racist
hate mails he had received since the election.

"I`ve had that all my life, growing up as an
Aboriginal in the `60s, the `70s and the `80s," he said,
adding, "What disappoints me is the work that`s been done by
Reconciliation Australia, we`ve certainly moved forward and
I`ve walked with so many great Australians.

"As an ordinary bloke, I`ve walked with people within
our suburbs and our community and to some extent there will be
people who have differences of opinion."

"Let`s move on from that - what`s more important is
the way in which we move Australia forward and the thinking
that we have and the society that we build on," he said.

In congratulating Wyatt, Liberal deputy leader Julie
Bishop said there was no place for racism within the Liberal
party.

"As far as the Liberal party is concerned, racism is
totally and absolutely unacceptable," she said. "It`s borne
out of ignorance and hatred.

Ken will be a role model for all Australians and I
have no doubt that some of the ignorance and hatred will was
away as he brings his quiet dignity and compassion and wisdom
to the Parliament of Australia," she added.

While there is still 8 per cent of the vote to be
counted, Wyatt`s lead of 984 votes makes it impossible for
Labor to hold the seat.

Labor`s Sharryn Jackson - who has lost and won back
the seat before - has not yet conceded defeat.

With the final votes still being counted, Gillard, the
first woman to lead the nation of 22 million, and Abbott are
attempting to woo independent lawmakers crucial to gaining
enough seats in parliament to form a government.

PTI



First Published: Monday, August 30, 2010 - 00:42

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