It will be days before Australians know the final outcome of the 2016 federal election, following a more than 3% swing away from the Coalition to the Australian Labor Party.
According to Australian Electoral Commission (AEC) results, which were last updated at 2am this morning, Labor is leading in 69 seats in the House of Representatives, with another three Labor seats deemed to be ‘close’.
The Coalition is leading in 64 seats in the lower house, with another two Liberal and National Party seats considered ‘close’.
The Greens, Katter’s Australian Party and the Nick Xenophon Team are each leading in one seat, with two other seats going to independents.
The AEC says a further seven seats are not yet decided and with counting still underway, the final result is unlikely to be known before Tuesday when more than 1 million postal votes will be counted.
According to the ABC, the results are slightly closer, with Labor winning 67 seats and the Coalition winning 66. The ABC has 12 seats ‘in doubt’, with 77% of votes counted.
To form government, the major parties need at least 76 seats in the House of Representatives. If neither party reaches that number, they will need to work with the independents and minor parties to form government.
On a two-party preferred basis, the Coalition has 50.11% of votes, while Labor has 49.89%. This represents a 3.38% swing to the Labor Party, compared to the 2013 election.
While it is looking likely Australia could be left with a hung parliament, Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said on Saturday night he is confident the Coalition will be able to form government.
“I can report that, based on the advice I have from the party officials, we can have every confidence that we will form a Coalition majority government in the next Parliament,” he said, according to the ABC.
“And certainly we are the only parties that have the ability or the possibility of doing that.”
Labor leader Bill Shorten told his party’s supporters the election outcome shows “the Labor Party is back”.
“Three years after the Liberals came to power in a landslide they have lost their mandate,” he said.
Counting of votes is also still underway for the Senate, however, it looks likely the major parties will need to negotiate with a diverse crossbench in the upper house.
Pauline Hanson from the One Nation Party will have a spot on that crossbench, having secured one of Queensland’s Senate seats.
In Victoria, media figure Derryn Hinch appears to have been successful in his Senate bid, while Jacqui Lambie has been re-elected for Tasmania.
The Nick Xenophon Team will also have an important role in the Senate, with either two or three Senate positions from South Australia.