Australian election: Malcolm Turnbull's confident he'll win election and avoid a hung parliament: 'I can form a majority government'

By Jennifer Smith

Malcolm Turnbull was confident he would still be able to form a Coalition government as the results of the federal election hung in the balance of seven undeclared seats. Photo / Getty Images
Malcolm Turnbull was confident he would still be able to form a Coalition government as the results of the federal election hung in the balance of seven undeclared seats. Photo / Getty Images

AUSTRALIA DECIDES: FEDERAL ELECTION 2016 RESULTS - 76 SEATS NEEDED FOR A MAJORITY WIN

COALITION: 68
LABOR: 66
GREENS: 1
OTHER: 3
UNDECLARED: 7

Malcolm Turnbull was confident he would still be able to form a Coalition government as the results of the federal election hung in the balance of seven undeclared seats.

The Australian Prime Minister addressed supporters at the Liberal Party's headquarters at around 12.30am on Sunday to optimistically tell them he would be re-elected but warned the final outcome may not emerge until Tuesday with the results too close to call on election day.

Around an hour earlier Opposition leader Bill Shorten gave a gushing speech to followers in Melbourne after seeing his hopes of a Labor government evaporate.

As vote-counting stopped at around 2am on Sunday the Coalition held 72 seats, Labor had 66 and five had been won by the Greens and independents.

Seven remained undeclared and others swayed after the knife-edge election which came at the end of a marathon two-month campaign. While Mr Turnbull remained set on victory, others pointed to the likelihood of a hung parliament which will leave Australians with yet more political uncertainty.

Describing it as a "very, very close count" as he addressed followers at his party's HQ on Sunday morning, Mr Turnbull shied away from the possibility of a hung parliament.

"Tonight, my friends, I can report that based on the advice I have from the party officials, we can have every confidence that we will form a Coalition majority Government in the next parliament.

Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, right, receives a kiss from his wife, Lucy, while he addresses party supporters during a rally in Sydney. Photo / AP
Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, right, receives a kiss from his wife, Lucy, while he addresses party supporters during a rally in Sydney. Photo / AP

"It is a very, very close count. It is a very close count, as you know. And right now, right now, right now nearly 30% of the votes are yet to be counted," he said.

"The pre-poll will continue to be counted until 2am. But I don't suggest we should wait around for that.

"And then the commissioner advises us there will be no more carding tomorrow or on Monday and they will count the postal votes on Tuesday.

"And we may, the final results in terms of seats may not be known until then."

He went on to accuse Labor of spreading "extraordinary" lies in a bid to win the election, namely a text message sent to voters on election day which warned Medicare would become privatised under Liberal leadership.

"The Labor Party, the Labor Party ran some of the most systematic, well-funded lies ever peddled in Australia.

"Telling vulnerable Australians that Medicare was going to be privatised or sold, frightening people in their bed and even today, even today, as voters went to the polls, there were text messages being sent to thousands of people saying that Medicare was about to be privatised by the Liberal Party.

"An extraordinary act of dishonesty,' he fumed.

In Melbourne Mr Shorten said the election results demonstrated the Prime Minister had been "rejected" by the people of Australia as he celebrated the return of his party.

"Friends, we will not know the outcome of this election tonight. Indeed we may not know it for some days to come. There is one thing that is for sure - the Labor party is back!" he said proudly.

Thanking his followers for their support, he encouraged Labor voters to take "great pride" in the results delivered across the country.

Australian Labor Party leader Bill Shorten listens to questions during a breakfast show television interview on election day in Sydney. Photo / AP
Australian Labor Party leader Bill Shorten listens to questions during a breakfast show television interview on election day in Sydney. Photo / AP

"In the past three years we have united as a party. In the past eight weeks we have run a magnificent campaign. We have argued for our positive plans and three years after the Liberals came to power in a landslide, they have lost their fan base.

"Mr Turnbull's economic program, such as it was, has been rejected by the people of Australia.

"Whatever happens next week, Mr Turnbull will never be able to claim that the people of Australia have adopted his ideological agenda. He will never again be able to promise the stability which he has completely failed to deliver tonight."

He went on to thank his wife Chloe for her support throughout the lengthy campaign, noting that it had been the longest in Australia for 30 years.

"Chloe, wherever you went in this campaign, you brought the sunshine with you. And I guess the secret is out - you all know how lucky I am."

Labor collected eleven more seats than it did at the last federal election. At the time of Mr Turnbull's speech seven of the 150 Lower House seats remained undeclared.

Treasurer Scott Morrison said he believed the party would still be able to storm to victory in a last minute win, declaring: "I believe we'll be able to form a majority government."

Earlier in the night former Treasurer Peter Costello said it was not "inconceivable" neither would be able to secure a win while ABC political expert Barrie Cassidy described it as "more likely than not" Australia would be left with a hung parliament.

After half the vote was counted the Coalition held a narrow lead with 50.2 per cent of the vote to Labor's 49.8 per cent.

As the results came in through the night the possibility of a Labor-majority house evaporated while the Coalition's chances grew slimmer.

Mr Costello was among the first to point to the likelihood of a hung parliament, telling Channel 9 News: "This election is getting very, very close.

"I've got to say it's not inconceivable that we could have a hung parliament.

He later swayed his prediction towards the Coalition, ruling out a Labor victory by saying: "I don't think that Labor can win this election."

Mr Cassidy pointed to the possibility of a hung parliament earlier in the night in his coverage for the ABC.

"Now there's the potential for the Labor Party to win seats in Queensland, six at least in New South Wales, three in Tasmania, Solomon they're claiming.

"Mayo falls to Xenophon and you've got Western Australia at this stage of the night. It's more likely than not now that the country will have a hung parliament," he said.

His colleague Antony Green shared the same view and predicted there would not be a clear result at the end of the night.

"We won't know who's won tonight. At the moment on the numbers I'm seeing it's not clear. At this stage the modelling we're doing, the projections we're doing we have the government on 75 seats.

"I don't think we'll have a clearer picture by the end of tonight," he said.

Bill Shorten has ruled out forming a post-election coalition with other senior Labor figures in the past insisting the party would govern alone or not at all.

Among prominent victories of the night was Labor MP Linda Burney's win in Barton, NSW. She is the first Aboriginal woman to ever become elected in the House of Representatives.

Malcolm Turnbull held his seat of Wentworth in NSW with 67 per cent of the vote while Bill Shorten won 61 per cent of the vote in his seat of Maribyrnong, Victoria.

Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce held his seat of New England with 63 per cent of the vote, putting on a raucous display of cheer as he arrived at his victory party.

He thanked Hollywood star Johnny Depp who he said had given him "advertising" in the lead-up to the campaign.

Mr Joyce publicly lambasted the actor and his now estranged wife Amber Heard for not declaring her two puppies when they flew into Australia on a private jet last year.

His tough stance on bio-security laws became a talking point for Depp in interviews around the world.

Celebrating his win on Saturday, Mr Joyce said: "Thanks for the advertising, Johnny."

He also shared his support for Malcolm Turnbull, insisting the Prime Minister would be re-elected because Australians do not want 'a revolving door' of leaders.

"I get along very well with Malcolm Turnbull and had a number of conversations with him tonight. He is most definitely the best person to lead our nation in a time of uncertainty and we're seeing that through Brexit," he told the ABC.

Former Prime Minister Tony Abbott also held his seat of Warringah in NSW with 64.5 per cent.

As the first of the results poured in on Saturday night he appeared in an interview with Alan Jones to take a swipe at Malcolm Turnbull.

Mr Abbott, who was ousted in September, said the Liberal Party's campaign would have been "different" if he had been at the helm in the interview.

Elsewhere independent candidate Andrew Wilkie was one of few independents to be elected, retaining his seat of Denison in Tasmania. Bob Katter of Katter's Australian Party retained the seat of Kennedy in Queensland.

Immigration Minister Peter Dutton was re-elected as was Labor MP Tanya Plibersek in Sydney. Jamie Briggs, a former federal government minister, lost the seat of Mayo in Adelaide to Rebekah Sharkey of the Nick Xenophon Team Party.

"After a tough fight tonight hasn't been our night, thanks to those who supported me and my best to the new member, it's a great electorate," he said on Twitter.

Former Prime Minister John Howard commiserated with the MPs who had lost their seats and implored any supporters of ousted Tony Abbott to give their backing to Mr Turnbull.

"As far as Tony Abbott is concerned, yes he was, is and will always be a good friend of mine but the party room made a decision and I accept that decision.

"I encourage all Liberals, particularly people who were especially attached to Tony Abbott to... out of respect for his own wishes, to vote for the Turnbull Coalition," he said at the party's Sydney function.

A Sky News poll released on Saturday afternoon revealed 62 per cent of voters believed the Coalition would be re-elected despite earlier predictions failing to put forward a clear winner.

It also showed which issues most held close when casting their ballots.

Liberal voters prioritised the economy, with 70 per cent listing the budget among their chief concerns.

Property driven issues including negative gearing and building unions were of little matter to them with less than 30 per cent naming it as of importance.

Medicare, which has been Bill Shorten's most prominent policy throughout the campaign, drove 83 per cent of Labor votes. They also listed education as a key issue.

Liberal voters valued budget and economy as one of the most important issues, with 70 per cent highlighting it, compared with 36 per cent of Labor voters.

The Galaxy poll of 25 marginal seats showed the election was merely too close to call, with both the Coaltiion and Labor predicted to win 50 per cent of the vote.

Labor needed a 4.5 per cent swing to win - 19 more seats than they won at the 2013 election.

-Daily Mail Australia

- Daily Mail

Get the news delivered straight to your inbox

Receive the day’s news, sport and entertainment in our daily email newsletter

SIGN UP NOW

© Copyright 2016, NZME. Publishing Limited

Assembled by: (static) on production apcf03 at 06 Dec 2016 01:58:57 Processing Time: 658ms