Federal election results 2016: Coalition could form majority government as count continues

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    Federal election results 2016: Coalition could form majority government as count continues

    A NEW seat has fallen for Malcolm Turnbull, bringing the Coalition’s total to at least 73 against Labor’s 66.
    The Australian Electoral Commission (AEC) has the Coalition even further ahead, with 74 seats at last count to Labor’s 71.
    The ABC has now called the seat of Gilmore for sitting Liberal MP Ann Sudmalis, who had faced a 3.8 per cent swing against her in this NSW south coast seat. Six seats are still in doubt.
    The Coalition now looks likely to hold the 76 seats needed to form majority government in the 150-seat lower house, as postal votes and recounts of existing votes have favoured Liberal and National candidates over Labor.
    Mr Turnbull is still preparing for a hung parliament, however, in case he doesn’t reach 76.
    He yesterday met with potential kingmaker Nick Xenophon in Sydney and today spoke to re-elected MP Bob Katter and other independents in Queensland, also taking the time to pose for selfies with Brisbane locals, a smile we haven’t seen in days plastered across his face.
    Mr Katter this afternoon declared his support for the government after “amicable” talks with Mr Turnbull.
    But the independent said he maintained his right to change his position at any time and his support depended on several political issues.
    Asked if he thought Mr Turnbull was listening to him today, he laughed: “When you’re on 74 seats and you need 76, I thought he was listening very closely.”

    His promise will make the the Prime Minister feel even more comfortable in his position.
    “I am very confident, very confident indeed that we will form ... a majority government in our own right, but I am, of course, talking to the crossbenchers as well,” Mr Turnbull told reporters, referring to the independent and minor party lawmakers who sit between the two main parties and could hold the balance of power in a divided parliament.
    “But so far the counting trends are very positive from our point of view.”
    Whether other independent MPs will support the Coalition is not yet certain. Senator Xenophon told the ABC that he, Katter and Jacqui Lambie, “share a concern about Australian jobs and Australian manufacturing and Australian farming land ... when it comes to our foreign investment.”
    And the state of the nation is still far from stable, with Standard & Poor’s downgrading Australia’s triple-A long term credit rating outlook to negative this afternoon, thanks to growing fiscal vulnerabilities.
    Treasurer Scott Morrison, who has said he’s confident the Coalition won’t need crossbenchers to form a minority government, admitted today that “the report has been issued on the basis of the election, they have made that very clear.”
    Nevertheless, Mr Morrison insisted the government’s focus on a strong economy was the correct response.

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