3 Jul 2016

Australians face long wait for poll result

6:07 pm on 3 July 2016
Labor leader Bill Shorten and Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull (R)

Labor leader Bill Shorten and Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull (R) Photo: AFP

Australians face waiting up to a month before the final outcome of the country's election is known, the country's Electoral Commission says.

After yesterday's election, the governing Liberal-National coalition and the opposition Labor Party are tied at 67 seats each, needing 76 to govern outright.

Minor parties currently have five seats and may wind up holding the balance of power.

Prime Minster Malcolm Turnbull was confident there would be be a clear result in by the end of the week.

He has been calling crossbenchers in the wake of the nailbiting election night, which saw neither major party able to secure an absolute majority.

Two independents, Andrew Wilkie and Cathy McGowan, have ruled out doing any deals to help the Coalition or Labor form government, but another, Bob Katter, is drawing up a wish list for negotiations.

Less than 80 percent of the vote has been counted so far, and the Australian Electoral Commission is not planning to do any further counting today or tomorrow.

Counting - including postal and absentee votes - will resume on Tuesday.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull (C) is watched by his family as he speaks at a Liberal party function in Sydney on July 3, 2016, in a tense wait for a result in Australia's general election.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull (C) speaks at a Liberal party function in a tense wait for election results. Photo: AFP

Despite no clear winner in the election, Mr Turnbull last night told supporters he was confident of his party's chances.

"I can report that, based on the advice I have from the party officials, we can have every confidence that we will form a Coalition majority government in the next Parliament," Mr Turnbull said. "And certainly we are the only parties that have the ability or the possibility of doing that."

Mr Turnbull then launched an attack on Labor, saying the ALP had sent text messages, purporting to be from Medicare, saying the government planned to privatise it.

"An extraordinary act of dishonesty - no doubt the police will investigate," he said.

But journalist and commentator Phil Wallington told Sunday Morning he didn't believe Mr Turnbull would survive the election.

"He won't fall on his sword but someone will conveniently stab him in the back and that will happen in the next couple of months."

Speaking to Sunday Morning, Auckland University associate professor in politics and international relations Jennifer Curtin said there was strong disaffection from voters during the election.

"Not just with politics generally, but with this turnover of leaders and the internal disruptions within both parties."

Mr Wallington said Labor leader Bill Shorten was the big winner out of the election.

"If he hasn't got the prime ministership, if he hasn't got the 76 seats - which is what it takes - he is absolutely in the box seat to be the next prime minister, because if National start getting rid of Malcolm and they start up to their usual backstabbing tricks, I think that they will be in disarray."

Senior Labor frontbencher Brendan O'Connor is confident Mr Shorten will remain as leader after Labor's strong showing in the polls.

The position will be automatically thrown open if Labor loses.

Mr O'Connor said he had no doubt that Mr Shorten would stay on, despite not knowing whether Labor would be in government or not.

Bill Shorten and his wife Chloe arrive at Moonee Ponds West Public School.

Bill Shorten and his wife Chloe arrive at Moonee Ponds West Public School. Photo: AFP

Professor Curtin said there would be a wait before the final results were known.

"They're going to have to count all the specials, all the postals, all the ones that voted early, so we're not going to know some of the really close seats, if they have to go for a recount, for a couple of days.

"Then the senate has to be counted so I would say we're in for a wee bit of a long wait."

Burney is first Aboriginal woman in lower House

The first Aboriginal woman elected to the House of Representatives said her main priority would be getting recognition of indigenous people into the constitution.

Linda Burney yesterday won the seat of Barton, in Sydney's south, for Labor, displacing a Liberal MP with a swing of about 4 percent.

The former state deputy opposition leader said she was thrilled to have made the jump to federal politics.

"To carry the aspirations of this community, the aspirations of the Aboriginal community, and to go forward knowing I've got the love and support of those two groups is pretty special."

Ms Burney, of Wiradjuri descent, become the first Aboriginal person to serve in the New South Wales parliament in 2003.

Kiwi might have secured Senate seat

New Zealand-born media figure Derryn Hinch is promising not to form instant opinions and to take advice as he waits for confirmation he has won a spot in the Australian Senate.

Mr Hinch, whose nickname is the Human Headline, started his career in Taranaki, but was now best known across the Tasman for campaigning radio journalism against the suppression of paedophiles' names.

He planned to continue his justice campaign, calling for the establishment of a national register of sex offenders.

Mr Hinch, who has been jailed for breaching suppression orders, said his first promise as a senator was to listen.

- ABC / RNZ News

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