Anthony Albanese says he will respect Peter Dutton as the likely new Liberal leader, but the prime minister also believes his government’s mandate following last weekend’s election should equally be respected.
Mr Dutton, with Sussan Ley as his deputy, is expected to be endorsed by the Liberals at a meeting on Monday as they pick up the pieces after losing power for the first time in nearly a decade.
Labor is still seen to likely clinch the 76 seats to form a majority government.
“I’ll treat Peter Dutton with respect if we can get some agreement from him that would be good on measures we have a mandate for,” Mr Albanese told Sky New’s Sunday Agenda program.
Sign up for a FREE 21-day trial and get Crikey straight to your inbox
“I think he needs to respect the mandate that we have on a range of areas that are very clear and we want to get to work on that.”
He said he would also respect a larger cross bench with the inclusion of ‘teal’ independents.
“One of the reasons we were able to form government in 2010 in that hung parliament is because the cross bench knew that they had been treated with respect by us,” Mr Albanese said.
He said the independents ran on issues such as stronger action on climate change, which Labor intends to tackle.
“We’ll talk to people across the parliament and I am confident that we’ll give Australia a good government that provides the change that is necessary and brings people with us on the journey of change,” he said.
Zali Steggall, who was an independent in the previous parliament before the term ‘teal’ was coined, said she spoke to Mr Albanese to congratulate him before his whirlwind trip to Japan last week to attend the Quad leaders meeting.
“There is a clear mandate and there is a clear reset in Australian politics,” Ms Steggall told Sky News.
“I welcome his approach to date in wanting to be more collaborative and more proactive on key issues that I know my community care a lot about.”
Nationals MPs will also meet on Monday to vote for their leadership position, with David Littleproud and Darren Chester both standing against current leader Barnaby Joyce.
On Tuesday, Labor MPs will meet to allow their factions to decide who will fill the front bench, with the ministers to be sworn in by the governor-general on Wednesday.