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Turnbull Likely To Win Narrowly As Voters Punish Coalition; ALP Secures Nationwide Swing Of 3.18% But Falls Short

Hung Parliament Still Possible; Many Close Seats; Nationwide Swing Delivers ALP Gains; Xenophon Wins Lower House Seat; Pauline Hanson, Derryn Hinch And Jacqui Lambie Elected To Senate

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull addressed Liberal supporters in Sydney last night

The Turnbull coalition government is clinging to office, following yesterday’s federal election, and may yet face a hung parliament controlled by crossbenchers not necessarily sympathetic to it. In a post-midnight speech, the Prime Minister insisted the coalition would be able to form a majority government.

A nationwide 3.18% swing towards the ALP sees the coalition leading the two-party-preferred vote with 50.01%. Every state and territory swung to the ALP, the Northern Territory leading the field with 7.37% and delivering Solomon to the ALP. The smallest swing was 0.68% in the Australian Capital Territory, where the ALP already held both seats and polled 61.73% of the two-party vote.

There was a 3.64% swing to the ALP in New South Wales. The ALP has won Banks, Barton, Dobell, Eden-Monaro, Lindsay, Macarthur, Macquarie and Paterson.

In Victoria, the swing was 2.13% but it appears that only one seat has changed hands. The ALP lost Chisholm, the eastern suburban Melbourne electorate held since 1998 by the former Speaker, Anna Burke. The Greens came close to winning Batman and counting may yet throw Melbourne Ports into doubt for the ALP.

In Queensland, a swing of 2.75% delivered Longman to the ALP and ended the two-term career of 26-year-old Wyatt Roy. The LNP electorates of Capricornia, Forde and Petrie are too close to call. Hinkler may also be in play.

In Western Australia, a 3.82% swing has delivered the new electorate of Burt to the ALP, giving it 4 of the 16 seats.

Tasmania swung decisively by 6.33% to the ALP and it picked up 3 seats lost in 2013: Bass, Braddon and Lyons.

In South Australia, a swing of 4.44% saw two seats change hands. The ALP’s Steve Georganas regained Hindmarsh, which he lost in 2013. The Liberal Party lost the seat of Mayo to the Nick Xenophon Team. NXT may yet have a chance of taking the large country electorate of Grey.

A range of commentators last night agreed that the coalition would likely be able to form a government with 76-78 seats. The large number of close results means that it will be up to ten days before the results are clear.


Triumphant Shorten Says The ALP Is Back; Turnbull Delivers Late-Night Off-Key Speech To Supporters

The closeness of the count delayed the appearance of the Prime Minister and Opposition Leader. Shorten appeared first, after 11pm. He told supporters in Melbourne that the ALP was “back”. He reiterated his campaign themes and said that the ALP would save Medicare “in government or opposition”.

Malcolm Turnbull spoke to Liberal supporters at 12.30am, delivering a speech widely panned as off-key and inappropriate. Turnbull spoke at length about thuggery in the construction industry and defended his decision to call the double dissolution. He insisted that the coalition would be able to form a majority government.

  • Watch Shorten’s speech (11m)
  • Listen to Shorten (11m)
  • Watch Turnbull’s speech (16m)
  • Listen to Turnbull (16m)


Windsor and Oakeshott Defeated; Existing Crossbenchers Re-Elected

Tony Windsor, the former member for New England, failed to defeat Nationals leader Barnaby Joyce. Windsor polled 29.73% but Joyce won the seat outright with a primary vote of 52.09%.

In the neighbouring electorate of Cowper, the former member for Lyne, Rob Oakeshott, polled 26.56% but was defeated by Nationals MP Luke Hartsuyker with 46.46% of the primary vote.

In Tasmania, Andrew Wilkie, the independent member for Denison, easily won re-election, increasing his primary vote by 6.35% to 44.43%, and polling 67.74% of the two-party vote.

In the Victorian electorate of Indi, the independent member, Cathy McGowan, increased her margin by 4.47% to 54.72%. The previous Liberal member, Sophie Mirabella, polled just 27.07%, a drop of 17.61%.

In Melbourne, the Greens’ Adam Bandt increased his margin by 1.62% to 56.89%.

In the Queensland electorate of Kennedy, the independent Bob Katter bounced back from a poor result in 2013 to win with 61.51%.

In the event of a hung parliament, only Katter and McGowan are likely to be sympathetic to supporting a coalition government.


Senate Election Delivers Power To Xenophon; Hanson, Hinch And Lambie Win Seats; Count Still Too Early To Call Final Result

The Senate results will become clearer today, but it appears that the Greens will lose at least one or two of their 10 senators, whilst South Australia will have three Nick Xenophon Team senators.

In Queensland, Pauline Hanson will win a seat and may win another one in NSW.

Derryn Hinch is close to claiming a seat in Victoria, whilst Jacqui Lambie has easily secured a quota in Tasmania.

It is not yet clear whether the Liberal Democrat senator David Leyonhjelm will be re-elected. The Family First senator Bob Day seems unlikely to make it.

What is clear is that if the Turnbull government survives it will not have the numbers to pass its Australian Building and Construction Industry legislation at a joint sitting.


Political Implications Of Election Imperil Turnbull

Despite his ebullient performance last night, Prime Minister Turnbull is severely weakened by the outcome. Whilst the coalition will be relieved if it can retain office, the double dissolution has slashed its large majority in the House of Representatives and produced a Senate with as many crossbenchers as before.

Conservative commentators tore into Turnbull last night. Andrew Bolt called on him to resign. Earlier, Alan Jones had an on-air spat with a key Turnbull supporter, Queensland LNP Senator James McGrath. Jones described McGrath’s faction as “bedwetters”.

Even Turnbull’s late arrival at the Liberal election-night function attracted adverse comment.

On the Labor side, Bill Shorten’s leadership appears secure, given the party’s gains. The election has seen the ALP consolidate its core support. Criticism has emerged in some quarters, however, suggesting that strategic decisions by the ALP may have cost it the election.


Informal Vote Drops In House But Doubles In Senate

The informal vote in the House of Representatives fell by 1.20% to 5.0%. The decrease ends a string of increases over recent elections.

Confusion about the Senate’s reformed voting system seems to have contributed to a significant increase in the informal vote in the upper house. In NSW, informals increased by 3.65% to 6.97%. In Victoria, they increased by 3.04% to 6.41%.

Queensland recorded an informal vote of 5.50%, South Australia 5.41% and Western Australia 5.05%. Tasmania had the lowest informal vote of 4.91%

Only a small number of Senate votes had been counted last night and these informal figures may change.

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Malcolm Farnsworth
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