Prime minister Malcolm Turnbull has claimed victory in the 2016 election after opposition leader Bill Shorten called him to concede defeat on Sunday afternoon.
While counting is still not complete and several seats are still in doubt and too close to call, the Coalition currently has 74 seats to Labor’s 66, and last week the prime minister gathered support from three independent MPs to allow him to form government.
The Coalition believes it can win at least two more seats for an absolute majority of 76, and may even end up with 77 seats. Labor may win up to 69, with five seats held by independents.
“We have won the election,” Turnbull said. “This is a great day today.”
The prime minister elect said he was carrying one-year old granddaughter Isla when when the Labor leader rang, eight days after Australia voted, re-electing a sitting government for the first time in 12 years.
“It was a reminder that we are trustees for future generations. Everything we do is about the future,” Turnbull said.
In his concession speech, Bill Shorten said “we need to make this parliament function” adding that Labor is “up for that”.
“I hope for the nation’s sake that the Coalition does a good job,” he said.
“I wish Malcolm Turnbull well in what the future holds.”
The prime minister also offered an olive branch in seeking “common ground”, saying “It is vital that we work together and as far as we can ensure that we all agree”.
One issue that already has bipartisan support is the introduction of electronic voting to speed up the count and election result.
Shorten said he would write to Turnbull seeking a move to electronic voting.
“We’re a grown-up democracy, it shouldn’t take eight days to find out who’s won,” he said.
The PM agreed, saying “This has been a passion of mine, an interest of mine, for a long time.”
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