Malcolm Turnbull just got one seat closer to forming government

Independent Queensland Bob Katter. Photo by Stefan Postles/Getty Images

A couple of weeks ago, Queensland independent MP Bob Katter was shooting dead a Liberal-National Party supporter in an election campaign video. Today he’s brought Malcolm Turnbull one step closer to returning a Coalition government by agreeing guarantee supply and confidence for the caretaker PM and his team.

“I do so with no great enthusiasm,” Katter said, adding that he reserved the right to change his mind down the track.

Turnbull flew to Brisbane today to meet with Katter as the election count continues with the Coalition currently believed to have 73 of the 76 seats required to form government. A result may be clear by the weekend.

Labor has 66 seats. Six seats are in doubt: Capricornia, Cowan, Flynn, Forde, Hindmarsh, Herbert; and the ALP is ahead in all of them.

Katter emphasised that even if Turnbull gained 76, his support would still be critical to the Coalition.

“You try running a Government with one vote up your sleeve. Don’t have your mother die because you can’t go to the funeral. Don’t go to the bathroom,” he said.

“Even a little nobody like me can knock you out of the ballpark.”

The MP said “40 or 50” items were discussed.

“I found him very much personable… good to work with,” he said

Katter said he believed Turnbull would not go on a union bashing spree, warning “if there is the slightest hint of union-bashing, I can assure you all bets are off… there’ll be some bashing coming from me too”.

The 71-year-old Canberra veteran and former Nationals MP, who considered backing Gillard in 2010, before walking away from the deal backed by Rob Oakeshott and Tony Windsor, said the handshake deal was not a “rubber stamp” for Turnbull.

“There is no guarantee, there’s no quid pro quo, there is no written agreements here and there can’t be,” he said.

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