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Opposition Wins in Australia National Election

Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd conceded defeat Saturday in national elections that swept the country's conservative opposition into power.

The victory by Tony Abbott's opposition Liberal-National coalition ends six-years of Labor Party leadership.

The campaign had been dominated by concerns about the economy, asylum seekers and climate change.

The election was held just three months after Mr. Rudd ousted Australia's first female prime minister, Julia Gillard, in a party leadership challenge intended to better position Labor for the national vote.



Unemployment in Australia has been creeping upward, and both parties tried to convince voters that they can guarantee future economic prosperity.

Both candidates had proposed tough immigration policies to discourage asylum seekers from sailing into Australian waters to claim shelter.

Mr. Abbott has promised that his government's first action will be to repeal an unpopular tax on the country's biggest polluters, which he blames for pushing up domestic power bills.

Voting is compulsory in Australia. More than 14 million people are listed on electoral rolls, but authorities estimate about a half-million 18- to 24-year-old Australians have never registered to vote, suggesting widespread apathy among young people about domestic politics.

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