Saturday, November 24, 2007

Rudd Wins Australian Election on Climate, Troops Vows (Update1)

Nov. 25 (Bloomberg) -- Kevin Rudd's Labor Party won Australia's election, ending John Howard's 11-year rule after promising to tackle climate change, restore workers' bargaining power and withdraw Australian troops from Iraq.

Labor won 83 of the 150 seats in the House of Representatives, gaining 23 seats from 2004, according to Australian Broadcasting Corp. projections. The Liberal-National coalition has 58 seats, with two independents and seven undecided, ABC said.

``I will always govern in the national interest,'' Rudd said in his victory speech to cheering supporters in Brisbane after Howard conceded. ``I want to put aside the old battles of the past, between business and unions; between growth and the environment.''

Rudd, 50, a former diplomat, takes control of an economy that has grown for 16 years. In an election campaign dominated by debate on interest rates and promises of big income tax cuts, Rudd kept his spending pledges to less than Howard to convince voters he was better-equipped to keep down borrowing costs at a time the central bank is battling accelerating inflation.

``Rudd has convinced people there is nothing to fear from a switch to Labor,'' said Clive Hamilton, director of Canberra- based think tank the Australia Institute. ``His promise to ease labor laws and tackle climate change resonated with voters and he is seen as a safe pair of hands.''.........

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