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Tony Abbott celebrates on stage with wife Margie and their daughters.

Tony Abbott claims victory for the Coalition in the 2013 Federal Election
(source: Sydney Morning Herald, images: ABC)

Tony Abbott has claimed victory for the Coalition in the 2013 federal election.

Earlier Prime Minister Kevin Rudd conceded defeat and announced that he would not recontest the leadership of the Labor Party, saying it was ''time for renewal''.

To a jubilant crowd of supporters in Sydney, Mr Abbott said the Coalition had won 13 seats clearly, with 10 seats ''still in play''.

''I can inform you that the government of Australia has changed,'' he said, before he was drowned out by the crowd.
Mr Abbott repeated his election pledges, saying the carbon tax would go, the boats would be stopped and the budget would be on track for a ''believable surplus''.

''From today, I declare that Australia is under new management and that Australia is once more open for business.''
Mr Abbott acknowledged that Mr Rudd had conceded defeat as well as his ''service''.

''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.''
The new prime minister elect said that in a ''week of so'' Governor-General Quentin Bryce would swear in the new government.

''Today, the people of Australia have declared that the right to govern this country does not belong to Mr Rudd or to me or to his party or to ours; but it belongs to you, the people of Australia,'' Mr Abbott said.

Kevin Rudd speaks to supporters after losing the federal election.


'Gave it my all'


Mr Rudd said that he had called Mr Abbott to congratulate him on his victory. ''I gave it my all but it was not enough for us to win,'' Mr Rudd told a crowd of cheering Labor Party supporters in Brisbane.
Mr Rudd said he was proud he had helped preserve Labor as a ''viable fighting force'' for the future. ''Ben Chifley's light on the hill will continue forever,'' he declared. Mr Rudd told a gathering of the party faithful in Brisbane: ''I have been honoured to serve as your Prime Minister and as your party's leader.''
''But there comes a time when you know you've given it your all and a time for the party to further renew its leadership for the future. ''For me that time is now. So I will not be recontesting the leadership of the parliamentary Labor Party.''
The Australian people deserved a ''fresh start'', Mr Rudd said. ''I know this will not be welcome news to some of you. But my responsibility has been to maintain Labor as a fighting force for the future so that we can unite behind the next leader of our party.''
Mr Rudd told the audience they would not hear his voice in public life for some time, and that was ''as it should be''. He had taken the decision with a ''heavy heart'' because he loved the Labor Party, loved the movement and loved ''the vision we have for Australia's future''.

The mood at the Labor post-election party was so buoyant that Mr Rudd had to calm down their whistling and chanting so he could begin talking. ''Kevin! Kevin! Kevin!'' they yelled. ''Geez, I though we had lost,'' Mr Rudd said.
Mr Rudd said the ''miracle'' and the ''marvel'' of Australia was that there was ''more that unites us than divides us''. Though Mr Rudd was less generous about his LNP opponent, Bill Glasson, whom he defeated for the seat of Griffith.

''It would be un-primisterial of me to say Bill Glasson eat your heart out, so I won't,'' he said.
Mr Rudd said he and his wife Therese Rein were looking forward to greeting Mr Abbott and his wife Margie at the Lodge next week with the same generosity that John and Janette Howard welcomed his family six years ago.
Mr Rudd also said that as evidence of Labor's success, every sitting member of cabinet who recontested their seats had been returned. Addressing his campaign staff, Mr Rudd said: ''For putting up with me, I thank you for that.''
Former prime minister Julia Gillard took to Twitter after Mr Rudd's concession speech, to commiserate with her old colleagues. ''A tough night for Labor,'' Ms Gillard wrote. ''But a spirited fight by Kevin, Albo, George + the whole team. My thoughts are with you all. JG''


'Rudd should leave parliament'
Outgoing Defence Minister Stephen Smith praised Mr Rudd's decision to resign from the leadership as the ''sensible" thing to do'' - but still called on Mr Rudd to leave parliament. ''It is in his interests and our interests . . . to leave the Parliament at some early time,'' he said.
Mr Smith said that the ''next generation'' - including Bill Shorten, Tanya Plibersek and Mark Butler - needed a chance. ''You have to strike out for the future,'' he said. ''They can't now get bogged down on who said what to who, or was it Rudd or what it Gillard's fault?''
Former minister Greg Combet said he endorsed Mr Smith's assessment that Mr Rudd should leave Parliament.


Upbeat mood despite loss


Despite a poor showing for Labor at the polls, losses in Western Sydney were not as bad as expected, and Labor has so far lost just one seat in Queensland, Capricornia.
Rudd backer and Treasurer Chris Bowen, who has held on to his seat of McMahon, said that Labor had done better than expected. ''Across the board it's a difficult night for the Labor Party, but compared to what we may have faced, 6 or 12 months ago, it's a result which I think will stand us in good stead for the next three years,'' he told ABC TV.
Mr Combet also said that the results for his party were not as bad as expected. ''The outcome seats-wise doesn't look quite as bad for us as had been anticipated," he told ABC TV.
Early Labor-held seats to fall to the Coalition are La Trobe and Corangamite in Victoria and Bass, Braddon and Lyons in Tasmania, but Labor retained Franklin in that state. The central coast NSW seat of Robertson is also a loss for Labor to the Coalition, as is the NSW seats of Page and Lindsay.
Also lost for Labor are the Victorian seat of Deakin, the South Australian seat of Hindmarsh and the Northern Territory seat of Lingiari.
Coalition candidates have also won in the formerly independent-held seats of New England and Lyne. Barnaby Joyce has successfully moved from the Senate to the lower house, taking New England, the seat formerly held by Tony Windsor. The Nationals have also held off a challenge from the Liberals in the Victorian seat of Mallee.
High-profile candidate Clive Palmer is in with a chance to win the Sunshine Coast seat of Fairfax held by retiring Coalition MP Alex Somlyay.Mr Palmer had attracted close to 29 per cent of the vote, with more than 55 per cent of the votes counted.
Former speaker Peter Slipper has conceded the Queensland seat of Fisher, with former Howard government minister Mal Brough set to return to Parliament.
Independent Andrew Wilkie has held his seat of Denison in Tasmania with a strong swing to him despite a concerted campaign by Labor. Greens MP Adam Bandt will retain Melbourne despite the Liberal party directly preferences away from the Greens.
In some good news for Labor Rudd supporter Ed Husic has retained his western Sydney seat of Chifley as did Michelle Rowland in Greenway against a challenge from Jaymes Diaz.
Kate Ellis has retained her seat of Adelaide in South Australia.
Matt Thistlewaite has successfully moved from the Senate to retain the Sydney seat of Kingsford-Smith for Labor. He stood for the seats after former education minister Peter Garrett resigned from politics when Kevin Rudd was returned to the Labor leadership.



Prime Minister of Australia, Hon. Tony Abbott



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