Turnbull’s Liberals Return to Power in South Australia State

  • Win may boost government’s bid for National Energy Guarantee
  • Labor retains federal seat of Batman in special election

Malcolm Turnbull, Australia's prime minister.

Photographer: Brendon Thorne/Bloomberg

Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull’s Liberals returned to power in Saturday’s South Australia state election after 16 years in opposition.

“A massive thank you to the people of South Australia who have put their trust, their faith in me and the Liberal team for a new dawn,” new state Premier Steven Marshall told supporters as he claimed victory in Adelaide. Labor leader Jay Weatherill conceded defeat.

While state elections are predominantly fought on local issues, the victory in South Australia may encourage Turnbull’s federal government, which polls show is trailing Labor ahead of an election due by next year. Having an ally in the state may also help the prime minister’s government implement the National Energy Guarantee plan, which aims to bolster reliability of the nation’s faltering electricity grid.

Nick Xenophon, who quit his federal seat to try have an impact on politics in his home state, failed to win any seats for his SA Best party in the election.

In a separate special election on Saturday, Labor retained the federal, Melbourne-based seat of Batman in a result seen to have eased pressure on the party’s national leader Bill Shorten.

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