With postal and absentee votes still in the mix and ten lower house seats too close to call, a final result in the Australian federal election may still be days away.
While Labor has not given up hope of forming a minority government, the Coalition appears in the box seat, with Liberal Attorney-General George Brandis saying he was “quietly confident” that the party would be able to form government.
Analysts reported on Tuesday with 79.6 per cent of the votes counted, that the Coalition has 68 seats, Labor 67, Others 5 and 10 seats undecided, with five of those undecided seats sitting on margins of under 0.5 percent.
To form a majority government a party must have 76 seats in the lower house and the projections suggest the Turnbull government is facing a desperate battle to hang on to power.
Whichever party makes it over the line, the election confirmed a new pessimism in the major parties: a quarter Australian voters opted for someone other than Labor or the Coalition.
Four independents Cathy McGowan, Andrew Wilkie, Adam Bandt and Bob Katter were all returned with increased majorities, and Senator Nick Xenophon strengthened his position as a force in South Australia.
Xenophon’s NXT party garnered more than 20 per cent of the vote across his home state, picking up the seat of Mayo, and has a chance of picking up the seat of Grey.
In Victoria Labor picked up a 1.5 per cent swing across the state while in NSW the party looks on track for a 3 per cent swing.
In Queensland Labor’s resurgence has been felt with a swing of over 2 per cent but such an average hardly illustrated the very different results across the state. The sunshine state has also seen the re-emergence of Pauline Hanson’s One Nation Party.
Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has said he takes “full responsibility” for the Coalition’s election campaign with Labor claiming he’s plotting a fresh snap election rather than accept a hung parliament.
Mr Turnbull has accused Labor of “cynically abusing the trust” of voters over healthcare.
How are the Greek Australian candidates faring?
Julia Banks close to ending Labor’s reign in Chisholm
Labor is in danger of losing the inner-Melbourne seat long-held by Anna Burke before her retirement at this election, with the Liberal’s Greek Australian candidate Julia Banks 66 seats ahead on Monday on a two-party preferred basis.
Georganas tipped for Hindmarsh
Labor’s chances of winning the marginal seat of Hindmarsh have been boosted after former MP Steve Georganas’ lead increased to more than 600 votes by Tuesday morning.
Hindmarsh in South Australia is one of closest of lower house seats still to be called.
Varvaris loses Barton
A 4.1 per cent swing according to the count so far will end Liberal incumbent Nicolas Varvaris’ one term as Barton’s MP, with Linda Burney, the first the Indigenous lower house MP winning for Labor.
No way back for Mirabella
Sophie Mirabella’s political career appears to have run its course, with ¬independent MP Cathy Mc¬Gowan -strengthening her hold on the former Liberal frontbencher’s seat of Indi. Ms McGowan scored a 4.5 per cent swing against her, according to the 81 per cent of votes counted so far.
Xenophon to hold balance of power?
On election day NXT party leader Nick Xenophon reportedly worked up a sweat preparing kebabs at a Greek restaurant in Adelaide.
“Nick, if you no get across the line tonight, I give you a job,” said taverna owner Yianni Tsagariolis drawing laughter from Xenophon supporters who had gathered there for a post poll party.
In a hung parliament NXT may well hold the balance of power. On the Senate crossbench the party is expected to pick up three seats, while in the Lower House, NXT’s Rebekha Sharkie has unseated former Liberal minister Jamie Briggs in the seat of Mayo. The seat of Grey is also on a knife edge with NXT candidate Andrea Broadfoot counting on preferences to get her past the Liberal incumbent
Vamvakinou swings high in Victoria
Veteran Victorian MP Maria Vamvakinou has vowed to keep advocating for her electorate and standing up for cultural diversity, after 70 per cent of the vote has been counted in Calwell.
Ms Vamvakinou, who has held the safe Labor seat since 2001, is certain to retain her place in parliament. By Tuesday Ms Vamvakinou held 58.7 per cent of first preference votes – totalling more than 39,600 votes, representing an 8.9 per cent swing in Labor’s favour.