OPPOSITION Leader Bill Shorten believes Australians will be back at the polls by the end of the year.
Fairfax Media reports Mr Shorten told members of his party it was likely the Coalition would hold onto leadership but made the prediction that it wouldn’t be long before Australians found themselves voting again.
“The combination of a PM with no authority, a government with no direction and a Liberal Party at war with itself will see Australians back at the polls within the year,” Mr Shorten said.
Meantime, for the first time since Saturday’s shocking election result, analysts are willing to declare that Australia has a new government.
Last night ABC election analyst Antony Green predicted the Coalition would get the seats it needed to take power.
While the official seat count still sits at 73 for the Coalition, Mr Green said he thought he could “pretty accurately predict” the Coalition would achieve between 75 to 77 seats.
“All the seats which are in doubt are starting to trend towards the Coalition so 76 may be an underestimate, it may be 77, we’ll see,” he said during an appearance on the ABC 7pm news bulletin.
He said the Coalition definitely had 73 seats and it needed to gain three of the six seats still in play, to form government.
The seats of Capricornia, Herbert and Flynn were the seats to watch as the Labor Party was well ahead in these seats a week ago, but they were all “lineball” now.
Labor’s lead in the seat of Flynn has dropped to just seven votes, and its lead in Capricornia fell to 175 votes indicating the seats were likely to go to the Coalition.
“All the trend in the postal votes has been towards the Coalition and at this stage they will certainly overtake Labor on the remaining postal votes and then it comes down to absent and pre-polls,” Mr Green explained.
“At this stage it looks like the Coalition should get to 76 though I must say on the chamber it is 76 plus or minus one so we’re saying between 75 and 77.”
Things are looking up for Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull as he visits the electorate of Deakin. Picture: Jake NowakowskiSource:News Corp Australia
ABC’s election computer updated its seat election guide to predict the Coalition on 76 seats, compared to 69 seats for Labor.
Insiders host Barrie Cassidy also appeared and said Australians could now say the country had a government.
“Technically, even though Forde in Queensland is still in doubt, both sides of politics concede that Forde will go to the Coalition,” he said.
The Australian Electoral Commission also removed Forde from its list of close seats on Friday night.
“We can for the first time this week, tonight, we can say we have a Prime Minister, we have a Government,” Cassidy said, adding “we have one at this point relying on the independents Cathy McGowan and Bob Katter”.
The two independents have said they would back a Coalition government, ensuring Malcolm Turnbull will continue to be Prime Minister. Denison MP Andrew Wilkie has also said he will not block supply.
But Cassidy said if Mr Turnbull had been able to declare victory on Saturday night it would have avoided an uncertain and unstable week.
The Australian Electoral Commission (AEC) have said counts will continue over the weekend in the closest seats in an effort to firm up whether the country will have a majority Government or hung parliament.
AAP reports voting won’t officially end until next Friday and the AEC says the close election and result will rely on the results in the small number of close seats.
About 11 million ballot papers were counted by about 75,000 polling officials at more than 7000 poling places after 6pm on election day.
Throughout the week more than 1.2 million postal votes were counted and now more than a million declaration votes are being worked though.
As of Friday night, the Coalition had won 73 seats and was leading in one other. Labor was on 66 seats. There are six close seats.
The current vote count as of Friday 7.57pm AEST from the Australian Electorate Commission website:
• Forde, Queensland — Liberal National Party’s lead has jumped to 783 votes
• Flynn, Queensland — Labor’s lead of 674 votes has dropped to just seven votes
• Herbert, Queensland — Labor leading by 348 votes
• Capricornia, Queensland — Labor’s lead of 476 votes has dropped to 175 votes
• Cowan, Western Australian — Labor’s lead narrowed to 488 votes
• Hindmarsh, South Australia — Labor’s lead has grown to 177 votes
Although Cowan and Hindmarsh are also close, the postal and other votes are not strongly swinging to the Liberal party.
Labor leader Bill Shorten and his party are falling behind. Picture: Gary RamageSource:News Corp Australia
LABOR’S BIG PROBLEM
Most of the postal votes are swinging towards the coalition, creating a big problem for the Labor Party as seats are quickly slipping away from the opposition.
AAP reports the days after the election, it was expected the seat of Flynn in Queensland would go to Labor but postals have reduced the opposition’s lead from more than 1000 to just seven.
Labor is 348 seats in front in the seat of Herbert in Queensland but again that’s down from Labor’s previous lead of more than 1000.
POLITICIANS TO DO SOME ‘SOUL SEARCHING’
If Labor candidate Anne Aly wins the seat of Cowan in Western Australia, she will become Australia’s first female Muslim in government.
It’s a close call but the Labor Party is expected to win the seat.
Ms Aly told ABC on Saturday she believed the tight election result showed politicians voters weren’t favouring one major party over the other.
“I think every election campaign deserves to be looked at and deserves to have politicians do some should searching, some parties do soul searching afterwards to find out what it is that cuts through what people were concerned about,” she said.
“I also think with this campaign, perhaps the length of it had something to do with it. It was an extraordinarily long election campaign.
“A lot of people that I was speaking to were deliberately switching off until the very last couple of days and then finding themselves confused about who to vote for or which way to go.
“There were a lot of factors with this campaign that I think we need to go back and analyse and have a look at why we have such a close result.”
Ms Aly thinks it will be a very difficult parliament if the Coalition wins as they will not have as many seats as they were banking on.
“Just a few months ago we had Malcolm Turnbull claiming victory already saying that they’d won the election and the hopes on that side were very clearly that they were going to win by a landslide,” she told ABC.
“That hasn’t come to fruition. There’s a lot of soul searching to be done on the Coalition’s part if they’re going to govern and govern effectively.”
Labor candidate for Cowan Anne Aly. Picture: Mick Tsikas/AAPSource:AAP