Australian Independent Cathy McGowan supports a Coalition government

By Malcolm Farr, Benedict Brook, Charis Chang

After meeting Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, Cathy McGowan confirms she would support the Government. Photo / Doug Sherring
After meeting Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, Cathy McGowan confirms she would support the Government. Photo / Doug Sherring

Australian independent Cathy McGowan has put her support behind a Coalition government, saying she would offer supply and confidence in the event of a hung parliament.

The Indi MP who defeated the Liberals' Sophie Mirabella, appeared after meeting Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, to confirm she would support the Government.

"While maintaining my complete independence, I am prepared to contribute to the stability of the 45th Parliament by continuing with my past practice of supporting the government of the day," McGowan said.

This means she will guarantee supply and confidence for the Government, but will still consider each piece of legislation on its merits.

When asked whether she had asked for anything in return for her support, McGowan said: "I asked for goodwill, I asked for regularly being in touch with each other, I asked for good governance and stability."

She is the second independent MP to put her support behind the Coalition.

If the Coalition is able to hang on to its lead in the seat of Forde then it's guaranteed of being able to form a minority government.

Whether it is able to form government is its own right is still hanging on a knife-edge result but is looking more likely.

ABC election analyst Antony Green said there was no doubt Turnbull would be returned as PM.

"Malcolm Turnbull is the Prime Minister and will continue as Prime Minister," he told ABC.

"In that sense, they have won, it's just simply a matter of whether they have got a majority or not."

Opposition Leader Bill Shorten has kept the Labor leadership after a vote yesterday.

The Labor caucus passed a motion of confidence in him and his team.

It applauded Shorten and the Labor leadership team for holding the Coalition to account "for their extreme right-wing agenda" while also advancing Labor's positive agenda.

Earlier Shorten named the remaining "close counts" as being in the seats of Hindmarsh, Capricornia and Herbert.

"This caucus can gather in a spirit of some reasonable optimism," he said. "We are united, we are determined and we are most certainly positive. Unlike our opponents, we fought this election as a team."

He said the campaign had delivered the second-biggest swing against a first-term government in Australian history.

Although the Coalition seems short of declaring victory, this didn't stop one minister from trumpeting that the election was in the bag.

"We have won again. That's our sixth victory out of eight in the past 20 years," Government leader in the House of Representatives Christopher Pyne declared on Channel 9.

"We will form a majority Government and we're also making arrangements with some of the crossbenchers for supply and confidence, so we will have a solid Government."

The two-party preferred count yesterday showed there were just eight votes separating the Coalition and Labor. While this has grown to 450 votes, it still seems very close.

But Green has explained why the Coalition has reason to be confident.

According to the ABC election calculator, the Coalition has 73 seats in the bag.

On paper that's three seats short of a majority and there's only six seats still in play. Even more worryingly, Labor is ahead in all of these seats except the Queensland seat of Forde.

So why the bluster?

In three of the seats where Labor is leading, it does so by less than 700 votes. So with postal and other votes favouring the Coalition, it could get over the line in the Queensland seats of Capricornia, Flynn and Herbert.

It needs to win only two of these three seats to form government.

- NZ Herald

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