SYDNEY: Australia’s opposition Labor Party urged Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull to resign Monday, calling him the “David Cameron of the southern hemisphere” after he failed to secure an emphatic election victory.
Millionaire former banker Turnbull took the country to the ballot boxes on Saturday, but his Liberal/National coalition has so far failed to win enough seats to form government.
Labor leader Bill Shorten, whose party appears to have gained seats in the 150-member House of Representatives but also fallen short of the 76 needed to govern, said Turnbull had to go.
“This is farcical. Mr. Turnbull clearly doesn’t know what he is doing. Quite frankly, I think he should quit,” Shorten told reporters in Sydney.
“He has taken this nation to an election on the basis of stability; he has delivered instability.”
He said Turnbull’s decision to put every seat in the upper house Senate up for grabs in a so-called double dissolution election rather than have the usual half-Senate vote had “made a bad situation worse”.
“He Brexited himself. This guy is like (the) David Cameron of the southern hemisphere,” the Labor leader said.
“He leads a divided party, he has had an election and he has delivered an inferior and unstable outcome.”
Britain’s Cameron called a referendum on whether the country should stay in the EU and led the “Remain” campaign. He announced he was quitting after the nation voted to leave.
Turnbull is the country’s fourth leader since 2013 after he ousted fellow Liberal Tony Abbott as prime minister in a party coup last September. He called elections early hoping to shore up support for his ruling coalition.
With the vote count still incomplete, the anti-immigration One Nation party of Pauline Hanson, who once claimed Asians were in danger of swamping the country, looks set to win multiple Senate seats.
“How on earth did Mr. Turnbull think that an idea of reform could end up with two or three One Nation senators in the Senate?” Shorten asked.
The vote count in Australia is due to resume on Tuesday, with the Australian Broadcasting Corporation reporting that the government has 68 seats to Labor’s 67 with five minor players and 10 in doubt.