Federal Election Result: Coalition Declares Victory
11 July 2016
Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has claimed a narrow Federal Election victory for the Coalition after Opposition Leader Bill Shorten conceded on Sunday that Labor has not won enough seats to form government. The Coalition has so far secured 75 seats and received confidence and supply commitments from Independent Cathy McGowan and Katter’s Australian Party (KAP) Leader Bob Katter. Labor has secured 66 seats to date; five seats have been won by crossbenchers and a further four electorates remain in doubt: Herbert and Capricornia in Queensland; Cowan in Western Australia; and Hindmarsh in South Australia. The seat of Forde was added to the Coalition’s tally over the weekend, with incumbent Liberal National Party (LNP) member Bert van Manen securing 50.6 per cent of the two-party preferred (2PP) vote to retain the Queensland electorate. The seat of Flynn has also been called for the Coalition this afternoon, with the LNP’s Ken O’Dowd returned. Labor remains ahead in three of the uncertain seats, while the Coalition leads in one. It is not yet clear whether the Coalition will secure the 76 seats needed to form government in its own right or require the support of crossbenchers.
In conceding defeat on Sunday afternoon, Opposition Leader Bill Shorten told reporters he had congratulated Mr Turnbull on the election result in a phone call earlier that day and expected the Coalition to do “nothing less” than honour the commitments it made to the Australian people. While maintaining Labor’s defence of Medicare and championing education, apprenticeships and jobs, Mr Shorten confirmed the Party will “search for common ground” with the Government and offered bipartisan support on the issue of electronic voting, saying it should not take eight days to determine who will govern in a “grown up democracy”. The Opposition Leader concluded his remarks by thanking the Australian people for the “choices and decisions they have made” and saying his Party will remain “true to Labor values”. Read Mr Shorten’s full speech here.
Prime Minister Turnbull claimed victory for the Coalition not long after Mr Shorten delivered his speech, holding a media conference in Sydney where he said the election had been resolved “peacefully and constructively”. He thanked the Australian people, his family, Liberal and National Party candidates and volunteers and welcomed newly-elected MPs; he also acknowledged the Coalition members who were not re-elected, saying politics is a “tough business.” Mr Turnbull said it is “vital” that the 45th Parliament works together to find common ground to “meet the great challenges Australia faces”, and committed the Coalition to delivering “good government” and “wise legislation” to build on the economy’s strengths. He said he agreed with Bill Shorten’s view that electronic voting should be explored, while also flagging the need to regulate election campaign “robocalls” and text messages in a similar way to television advertisements. Read the Prime Minister’s victory speech here.
The Prime Minister also confirmed yesterday the caretaker period is now over following the Opposition Leader’s concession and said the Coalition will hold its first party room meeting next Monday 18 July. It is expected Mr Turnbull will announce his Cabinet after the meeting and that he and his Ministry will be sworn in later next week.
The Prime Minister would not be drawn on whether he expects his Government’s industrial relations legislation – the trigger for the double dissolution election – to pass the new Parliament, saying the final makeup of both houses remains uncertain. Mr Turnbull also indicated the Coalition Ministry will remain largely the same as pre-election but noted there will be some necessary changes to replace members of the Ministry who were not re-elected on July 2. He did, however, confirm that the Government intends to reinstate extra resources for crossbenchers, as applied during the 2010 hung parliament, to ensure all MPs can “play a very constructive role” in the Parliament.
One of this week’s priorities for the Prime Minister, who returned to Canberra this morning, is to reach a new Coalition agreement with the Nationals, who are said to be emboldened by their positive election results (subject to the final outcome in seats still under deliberation) relative to their Liberal counterparts. The Nationals will hold a party room meeting tomorrow to discuss the terms of a new Coalition agreement, which may include additional ministerial representation and opportunities in traditionally Liberal-held portfolios, such as small business.