Australians ended six years of tumultuous Labor Party rule and gave the conservative Liberal Party and its allies a healthy majority in parliamentary elections held last weekend. Mr. Tony Abbott will assume the office of prime minister, the third to hold that post in three months. Mr. Abbott has his work cut out. Restoring political stability in Canberra should not be difficult. More pressing is winning over voters, who, despite backing his party, do not hold him in especially high regard, and regaining the footing of a slowing Australian economy. None are impossible, but all require a deft touch, one for which Mr. Abbott has shown little proclivity in the past.

Voting is compulsory in Australia, so the results of Saturday's ballot provide an accurate reading of public sentiment. As expected, the Liberal-National coalition crushed the Labor Party, claiming 88 seats, an increase of 16 from the previous Parliament. The Labor Party dropped to 57 representatives, down from 71. (It had ruled with the support of independent and Green representatives since 2010 — the first minority government since World War II.)

For once, economic policy was not an issue. Australia's economy has grown for 22 years, unemployment and interest rates are low, and household incomes have increased in real terms. Still, public dissatisfaction with Labor government has steadily increased over the six years it was in power. The causes of that disaffection are threefold. The first, and most important, was the bitter infighting within the party. Labor, led by Mr. Kevin Rudd, came to power in 2007, and Mr. Rudd assumed the office of prime minister. He was ousted three years later in a coup led by his deputy, Ms. Julia Gillard. The rebels had chafed under Mr. Rudd's autocratic style, which alienated many in the party. Ms. Gillard kept Mr. Rudd by her side as foreign minister, using his experience and expertise to bolster her government and signal party unity after the coup.