Australia might soon have another minority government, with yesterday’s election so far failing to return a clear win for either party.
At last count, Labor led in 71 seats and the Coalition 67, with 5 going to minor parties and independents, and 7 remaining in doubt.
The Greens’ Adam Bandt retained his seat of Melbourne, as did independents Cathy McGowan in Indi and Andrew Wilkie in Denison, and Bob Katter of Katter’s Australian Party in Kennedy. The South Australian seat of Mayo, previously held safely by Liberal Jamie Briggs, fell to Rebekha Sharkie, giving the Nick Xenophon Team its first seat in the House of Representatives.
Labor’s Linda Burney became the first indigenous woman elected to the House of Representatives, taking the seat of Barton from the Liberals’ Nickolas Varvaris thanks to a redistribution.
“Barton has created history tonight in Australia,” Ms Burney said.
Elsewhere, Nationals leader and Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce fended off a challenge in his seat of New England from former independent MP Tony Windsor, who was unable to make up ground from Labor and Greens preferences after Mr Joyce won more than 51 per cent of the primary vote.
“We don’t have the money or the resources but we have got the people,” the Deputy PM said in his victory speech. “We go street by street, pub by pub, club by club, CWA hall by CWA hall.”
Opposition Leader Bill Shorten said that though the result of the election might not be known for days, the Labor Party was back.
“In the past three years – we have united as a party. In the past eight weeks – we have run a magnificent campaign,” Mr Shorten said in his election night speech. “We have argued for our positive plans. And three years after the Liberals came to power in a landslide, they have lost their mandate.”
Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull was defiant in his own speech, saying he was confident that the Coalition could still govern in its own right.
“The Labor Party has no capacity in this parliament to form a stable majority government. That is a fact,” Mr Turnbull said.
Counting of postal and pre-poll votes will continue on Tuesday. – Jake Nelson