Anthony Albanese is on track to become Australia’s first Labour prime minister in nearly a decade as Scott Morrison’s Conservative Liberal-National coalition conceded defeat after opposing his party.

Surprising victories for the Greens and some climate-focused independent candidates mean Albanese may have to run a minority government and seek support from new MPs who are not aligned with either of the two main parties.

Veteran Labour politician Albanese won at least 72 of the 76 seats needed to form a majority government earlier on Sunday.

Speaking at a victory rally in his hometown of Canterbury in Western Sydney, Albanese promised to govern in a spirit of unity and optimism, not “fear and division”.

Building on his roots as the child of a single mother raised in a residential area, the soon-to-be 31st prime minister of Australia said he wanted to deliver on his campaign promise to “build a better future”.

He highlighted climate change, renewable energy, Aboriginal rights and wage growth as key issues facing his government.

“Tonight, the Australian people voted for change,” he told the jubilant crowd. “We have the opportunity to shape change, not be shaped by it.”

The election comes at a critical time for Australia, which is entering a period of economic uncertainty and heightened geopolitical tensions as China’s influence in the Pacific increases.

Albanese’s attitude towards Indo-Pacific politics will be put to the immediate test as he is expected to be sworn in on Monday with his foreign secretary, Penny Wong, to join US President Joe Biden Participate in the planned quad meeting.

Labour chairman and former deputy prime minister Wayne Swan said it was “heartening” that voters had affirmed support for progressive values ​​after nine years of Conservative rule. “Trump-style climate and social policies have been rejected in this election,” he told the Financial Times.

Labour’s victory overshadowed the fact that, as an independent, direct support for the two main parties fell to their lowest level in more than 100 years, with the Greens and right-wing parties taking about a third of the total vote.

Morrison said in his concession speech it was a “time of great turmoil”.

He addressed a party that lost most of its front-row seats on the night and saw its support collapse in wealthy urban heartland seats as voters turned to independent candidates standing on the platform of climate change and integrity.

The biggest shock of the night was the loss of Liberal treasurer and deputy leader Josh Frydenberg in Melbourne’s traditionally ultra-safe seat of Kooyong. It is the former site of Robert Menzies, the founder of the modern Liberal Party and Australia’s longest-serving Prime Minister.

Frydenberg had been considered a possible future leader of the party and a potential prime minister.

He was defeated by Monique Ryan, a doctor and one of the so-called “cyan independents” campaigning in traditionally safe conservative seats on a platform of climate action, anti-corruption and gender equality . The independents won at least five traditionally safe Liberal seats.

The pro-business, pro-climate ‘blue-green’ candidate, named after its brand colour, which sits between conservative blue and environmentalist green, will now represent some of the wealthiest voters in Sydney and Melbourne.

Labor had the best results in Western Australia, taking a few seats from the Liberals after swings of about 10 per cent. This offsets their failure to secure two key seats in Tasmania, where the Liberals have gained a firm footing.

Morrison, whose coalition has been in government for a decade, is seeking to become the first prime minister since John Howard to win a second term, but has trailed his rivals in polls ahead of election day.

He’s tackled voter unpopularity by promising to change his “bulldozer” style and rolled out a last-ditch housing policy aimed at appealing to younger voters, but it’s not enough.

In Melbourne, “blue-green independents” won two traditionally Conservative seats, while Labor won the traditionally ultra-safe Liberal seat of Higgins – which covers Melbourne’s most exclusive suburb of Toorak – for the first time.

In Sydney, ‘blue-green’ candidates have won the harbour seats of Waringa, North Sydney and Wentworth, three of the country’s richest constituencies, where two former Liberal prime ministers Tony Seats for Abbott and Malcolm Turnbull.

In a flood-prone Queensland in recent months, the Greens made a surprise move, taking Griffith’s Brisbane seat.