7 Jul 2016

Australia's Turnbull needs crossbench support

5:27 pm on 7 July 2016

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull looks set to hang on to power in Australia, but it is unclear if he will be able to form a majority government.

Just a few thousand votes in six key seats across Australia will decide that, probably by the weekend.

The Coalition now has 73 seats, leaving it three short of the number it needs to gain an absolute majority.

Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull

Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull Photo: AFP

Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull will be doing a bit of soul-searching after his Coalition failed to secure a majority of seats in last Saturday's federal election.

Mr Turnbull is contacting cross-bench politicians who may be persuaded to support his government.

He has flown to north Queensland to meet independent lawmaker Bob Katter, whose vote has emerged as critical to delivering the 76 lower house seats needed to form a new government, following Saturday's election.

"I am confident we can form a majority government but in any event I'm talking to the cross benches, obviously, and will continue to do so," Mr Turnbull told ABC radio.

"So far the counting trends are very positive from our point of view."

Strategists on both sides say the most likely outcomes are the Coalition winning 75 seats and forming a minority government or winning a 76th seat and claiming the slimmest of majorities.

Meanwhile Standard & Poors has cut Australia's credit rating outlook to negative from stable, threatening a downgrade of its triple A status.

The Australia dollar fell half a US cent after the announcement.


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