PM elect Abbott returns to Canberra


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09-09-2013 08:00 AM


ABC Canberra 666

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ABC Canberra 666


09-09-2013 08:00 AM



09-09-2013 08:32 AM

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2013-09-09 08:00:46

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PM elect Abbott returns to Canberra -

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TONY EASTLEY: The Prime Minister elect Tony Abbott will be in Canberra today as the Australian Electoral Commission works towards finalising the count of Lower House seats.

Once those results are in Mr Abbott is expected to announce his front-bench line-up and to hold his Government's first joint party room meeting.

He's not expected to be officially sworn in as Prime Minister until next week.

The Coalition is on track to win around 89 seats. The ALP around 57.

From Canberra, Naomi Woodley.

NAOMI WOODLEY: Tony Abbott spent his first day as Prime Minister elect receiving briefings from senior public servants and that's likely to be the approach for the rest of the week.

TONY ABBOTT: It is important that a new government get down to business pretty quickly, because we have got a strong agenda and it is very important that we move swiftly and purposefully to implement our agenda.

NAOMI WOODLEY: In Canberra today he'll focus on the Coalition's transition plan, meetings with his leadership team, and he'll contact state premiers for the first time since the election win.

Tony Abbott has promised that his frontbench will stay mostly the same, but there will have to be some adjustments. Some positions have already been confirmed.

Joe Hockey will be the Treasurer, the Nationals leader Warren Truss the new Transport and Infrastructure Minister, and Mr Abbott's Liberal Party Deputy, Julie Bishop, will be the new Foreign Minister.

JULIE BISHOP: We will be very orthodox and methodical as we go about moving into government. I understand that Mr Rudd has tendered his resignation to the Governor General, and in the usual course of things he will remain as caretaker Prime Minister until there is an opportunity to swear in Tony Abbott as Prime Minister and his ministry.

NAOMI WOODLEY: While Tony Abbott is the Prime Minister elect, he still has to be endorsed as the Liberal Party leader. Julie Bishop says that'll happen during the new Government's first party room meeting expected later this week.

JULIE BISHOP: To reaffirm the leadership of Tony Abbott and me and the National Party will no doubt hold a similar party room meeting. And then we will decide on the ministry and hopefully be able to swear in the ministry early next week.

NAOMI WOODLEY: While Tony Abbott is busying himself with the transition to government, the Australian Electoral Commission is continuing with the vote count. Its virtual tally room lists six seats as too close to call, but others are also still being finalised.

In Queensland, the AEC has done a new two-party preferred count for the seat of Fairfax, where Clive Palmer is well and truly in the running.

In the neighbouring seat of Fisher, a new count is also expected to start today, putting the contest between the Palmer United candidate Bill Schoch, and the LNP's high profile candidate and former minister Mal Brough.

TONY EASTLEY: Naomi Woodley reporting.