Abbott wins Australia poll

CANBERRA - Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd has conceded defeat in the general election, as Tony Abbott's Liberal-National coalition swept to power.

Mr Abbot said he looked forward to forming a competent and trustworthy government.

With about two-thirds of the votes counted, the opposition coalition had secured a parliamentary majority.

The campaign has been dramatic, with Kevin Rudd ousting Julia Gillard as PM and Labor leader weeks from the polls.

The economy, asylum and the carbon tax have been the main election issues.

Mr Rudd called the election after defeating Julia Gillard in a leadership challenge in June, amid dismal polling figures that showed Labor on course for a wipe-out.

Under Mr Rudd, Labor initially saw its figures improve. But Mr Abbott, who enjoyed the strident support of Rupert Murdoch's newspapers, then broadened the gap again.

"From today I declare Australia is under new management and Australia is now open for business", Mr Abbott told a cheering crowd as he delivered a victory speech.

Mr Rudd said he had phoned Mr Abbott and wished him well.

"I gave it my all but it was not enough for us to win," he said. But he was pleased that Labor was preserved as a "viable fighting force for the future".

Mr Rudd - who retained his seat in the Brisbane constituency of Griffith - said he would not re-contest the Labor party leadership, saying the Australian people "deserve a fresh start".

"I know that Labor hearts are heavy across the nation tonight. As your Labor leader I accept it as my responsibility," he said.

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