Oh… What a Night!
This morning Australia has awoken not knowing whether Malcolm Turnbull can form a majority Government.
This was not the result that Malcolm Turnbull and the Government were either hoping for or expecting.
As it stands, the AEC have Labor leading with 72 seats and the Coalition 66 seats. There will be 1 Green, 1 NXT, 3 Independents, and 7 seats remain in doubt.
Five key takeaways from last night:
- At the very best the Government may win a bare majority of 76 or 77 seats (but on current numbers a hung parliament is looking a strong possibility)
- Going into Saturday the question was would Bill Shortens leadership survive, now Malcolm Turnbulls leadership is under serious question
- The Senate will be more fractured than the previous parliament, with the big surprise being that Pauline Hanson could win up to 3 Senate seats
- The whole purpose of the election was to have a joint sitting to pass the ABCC Bills. This would require 114 votes. The chances of this occurring are virtually zero.
- If Malcolm Turnbull does form Government his authority and mandate is greatly diminished. This will also embolden the Senate even more to oppose unpopular Government legislation. Consider the company tax cut dead for big business.
With the prospect of a hung parliament now a real possibility, it also means Labor may well have the same opportunity to form a minority Government if the Coalition cannot get to 76 seats.
For the Government – it was not meant to be this way. The recriminations will now be flying thick and fast.
And the biggest loser from this result sadly will be the nation. Even if the Coalition do form a majority Government it will be 1-2 votes away from chaos on every vote in the House of Representatives.
The other alternative is either a Coalition minority Government or the outside chance of a minority Labor Government. Couple this with a Senate more fractured than the previous one and governing Australia becomes near on impossible.
This outcome is hardly a recipe for bold policy reform. With the nation facing some very real economic challenges, reticence and inaction will now be the order of the day – regardless of who does finally form Government.