On the other side of politics, a power shift is already taking place within the Coalition, with Peter Dutton widely expected to be unopposed as the new Liberal leader to replace Scott Morrison, and Barnaby Joyce already pushing for more front-bencher positions for the Nationals, who fared better in Saturday’s election than their Coalition partner.
When counting halted on Sunday night, Labor was assured of 75 seats, just one short of an outright majority in the 151 seat House of Representatives, despite the ALP getting less than a third of overall primary votes at 32.8 per cent.
Labor achieved power despite its falling popularity thanks chiefly to preferences flowing from voters who supported ‘teal’ independents in mostly wealthy suburban seats and also the Greens.
Mr Joyce hit out at the supposedly ‘progressive’ voters who backed the independents and voted out the Liberal candidates, as it stripped the Coalition of mostly moderate voices; inevitably tilting the party to the right.
‘I’m hoping they’re happy with their work,” Mr Joyce told the Australian Financial Review.
‘They’ve managed to get rid of three gay guys, one Aboriginal and one Asian. Was that their game plan?’
Labor’s win was also blemished by losing the southwestern Sydney seat of Fowler where former NSW Premier Kristina Keneally was parachuted in as a high-profile candidate, only to be beaten by independent Dai Le.
The urgency to swear Mr Albanese in as Prime Minister first thing Monday is so he can represent Australia at the crucial Quad summit.
The 31st Australian Prime Minister enjoyed coffee with his inner-Sydney supporters on Sunday but was already foreshadowing a radically different agenda than that of the now ousted Coalition government.
‘I do want to change the country,’ Mr Albanese said ‘I want to change the way that politics operates in this country.
‘It’s something that’s a big moment in my life but what I want it to be is a big moment for the country,’
The Quad leaders summit will bring together leaders from India, Japan, the US and Australia to discuss security and economic issues the Pacific region is facing.
Penny Wong, Richard Marles, Katy Gallagher and Jim Chalmers will also be sworn on Monday by Governor General David Hurley.
Until the final make-up of the government benches is decided and other ministers are appointed, this gang of five will divide all of the ministries between themselves.
There will be some promotions to the ministry after Labor’s environment spokeswoman Terri Butler and home affairs spokeswoman Kristina Keneally lost to the Greens and an independent, respectively.
After the summit and bilateral meetings with Quad leaders on Tuesday, Albanese said he would return to Australia on Wednesday.
‘Then we’ll get down to business,’ he said.
One of the first major events will be a meeting with state premiers and territory chief ministers when he will set out the new federal government’s stance on more ambitious climate action.
While the strong performance of the Greens and the climate-focused ‘teal’ independents indicated Australians wanted more pro-active policies on environmental matters, the likelihood of Labor gaining a majority in its own right meant those cross-benchers would now have little to no influence on the new government’s agenda.
But while Labor is finally ready to make changes after a long stint in opposition, the Coalition is set for internal battles on two fronts.
The most immediate decision is who will replace Mr Morrison as Liberal leader, with the outgoing Prime Minister saying on election night he would not re-contest the leadership and would step aside.
An emotional Mr Morrison told his local Horizon Church on Sunday a life of faith called on people to ‘trust and obey’.
‘God holds us, whether you’re a prime minister or a pastor, running a business, teaching in schools, working in the police force – it doesn’t matter,’ he said.
‘I’m very pleased that the last thing I say as PM is here.’
Peter Dutton, who held the Home Affairs and then Defence ministries under Mr Morrison has already put his hand up for the Liberal leadership, having previously run for twice in 2018, losing firstly to Malcolm Turnbull and then days later to Mr Morrison.
The outgoing Minister for Trade, Dan Tehan, and Karen Andrews, who served as Minister for Home Affairs under Mr Morrison, had both been touted as potential challengers to Mr Dutton but reports on Sunday said they knew they did not have the numbers to win.
With fellow Queenslanders and fellow conservatives dominating what is left of the Liberal Party, Mr Dutton is likely to be installed unopposed, with former treasurer Josh Frydenberg having been ejected from parliament, losing his seat of Kooyong to independent Monique Ryan.
Mr Tehan, Ms Andrews and Angus Taylor were among the leading candidates as deputy leader.
The other major internal fight in the Coalition emerges from the Nationals having held all their seats while the Liberals lost up to 20, making the rural and regional party now in a position to push for a greater number of front-bench portfolios in Opposition.
Mr Joyce said on Sunday that he will ‘bargain hard’ for extra National Party shadow positions.
He said the teal independents had done ‘an exceptional job of decapitating the moderates out of the Liberals’.
Mr Joyce could not resist having a crack at his Coalition partners, saying ‘We were also up against independents, but we won, because we know how to campaign.’
Pauline Hanson is at risk of losing her Senate spot.
With the Coalition and Labor both likely to get two of the six Senate seats from Queensland, and the Greens one, Ms Hanson is clinging onto a narrow lead in counting for the sixth and final position, challenged by the Legalise Cannabis candidate.
The billions of Clive Palmer were not enough to get any lower house seats for the United Australia Party, but the party is ahead in counting for the final Senate position in Victoria and in the contest for the same in South Australia.
Three House of Representative seats still remained too close to call after Sunday’s counting.
In Gilmore in NSW, Liberal Andrew Constance is just 306 votes ahead of the ALP’s Fiona Phillips and in with a chance of being the only Coalition candidate to snatch a previously Labor seat.
In the Victorian seat of Menzies, Liberal Keith Wolahan is 624 votes ahead of Labor’s Naomi Oakley as he attempts to hold the seat for the Coalition.
In the eastern Adelaide seat of Sturt, Liberal James Stevens is 723 ahead of Labor’s Sonja Baram.