ELECTION FALLOUT: Malcolm Turnbull says it might take until next week before he can form government

Malcolm Turnbull. Photo: Stefan Postles/Getty Images.

Prime minister Malcolm Turnbull says he is “quietly confident” that his government will be returned with a majority, but the ultimate result may not be clear until next week, after the last of the pre-polling or postal votes have been counted.

With up to a dozen seats still in doubt, and neither the Coalition nor Labor able to form government, the PM said he’d already called a number of cross-benchers on Sunday morning to discuss the way forward, as well as calling MPs who lost their seats.

“I have certainly spoken to many of the crossbenchers today,” he said.

Despite pre-election statements about not forming alliances with the minor parties, the prime minister appeared to leave the door open for a possible collaboration with the crossbench.

“We are committed to ensuring that the parliament, as elected will work effectively and constructively for the Australian people,” he said.

“I can promise all Australians that we will dedicate our efforts to ensuring that the state of new Parliament is resolved without division or rancour.”

The Government went into the election with 90 seats, currently has 65, and is hoping to get to the 76 required to form government.

Counting will resume on Tuesday, and with around 3.5 million people lodging pre-poll or postal votes to be counted, they will be crucial to the outcome.

“Around a third of Australians voted in pre polling or via a postal vote,” he said.

“That will determine the result in as many as 12 undecided seats and there may be recounts in other close contests. I suspect that we will see seats moving from one side of the ledger to the other until the count is completed at the end of the week.”

Turnbull is upbeat, explaining that those votes “traditionally favour Liberal and National Party”.

The prime minister said he will work with the MPs Australian voters have elected.

“It is very important to recognise that this is the people’s house. The people have chosen the members of the Parliament and we will work with all of them to deliver the stability and the leadership that Australians expect,” he said.

Asked about the return of former PM Tony Abbott to the ministry, Turnbull declined to comment saying he was focussed on “monitoring the count”.

The ministry will be the same he said, although a number of ministers had lost their seats.

“I’m not proposing to bring back any particular individuals.”

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