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Jul 7, 2016

The Guardian | World | Australia | Australian Elections 2016 - July 8, 2016 (01:45 BST): Australian Election Count: Everything That Could Possibly Happen Now, by Ben Raue

Ben Raue

At the moment we have called 72 seats for the Coalition, 66 for Labor and five for others. We believe Gilmore is almost certain to go to the Liberal party and Cowan to go to Labor.

If Gilmore and Cowan go as expected, that leaves the Coalition three seats short of a majority, with five seats left in play.
These five are:
  • Capricornia – Labor leads by 476
  • Flynn – Labor leads by 646
  • Forde – LNP leads by 687
  • Herbert – Labor leads by 449
  • Hindmarsh – Labor leads by 68
These are the possible outcomes:

Labor wins all five – 73 Coalition, 72 Labor, 5 others

The Coalition is only one seat ahead of Labor. The Coalition needs the support of three crossbenchers, or Labor needs the support of four.
Bob Katter has clearly indicated he will support the Coalition and Adam Bandt has likewise telegraphed support for Labor. So the Coalition needs to win over two out of Andrew Wilkie, Cathy McGowan and Rebekha Sharkie to have a majority. Labor would need all three. And Wilkie said on Friday there was “no conceivable way” Labor would govern.

Labor wins four – 74 Coalition, 71 Labor, 5 others

At this point the Coalition is the only viable government, but not particularly stable.
Bob Katter’s conditional support gives them half the seats, and one more gives them a majority – but only a slender 75-74 majority once the government elects a speaker.
If the Coalition can get guarantees from Wilkie, McGowan and Sharkie to support the government in a confidence vote, it would have a 77-72 majority, but their vote could not be guaranteed for ordinary legislation.

Labor wins three – 75 Coalition, 70 Labor, 5 others

The Coalition has half the seats, and the support of Katter gives them a majority, but a very precarious majority – it would still make sense to seek out the support of more crossbenchers.

Coalition wins three – 76 Coalition, 69 Labor, 5 others

The Coalition has a majority in its own right. Theoretically it needs no assurances of support from crossbenchers and should be able to pass legislation through the House of Representatives – as long as nothing goes wrong.
A political defection, or a death, or a scandal forcing a Coalition MP onto the crossbench, would leave the government vulnerable.

Coalition wins four – 77 Coalition, 68 Labor, 5 others

The Turnbull government will be a bit more stable now, and will require more than one shock event to be less than stable, but any rebellions on his backbench could still hurt.

Coalition wins five – 78 Coalition, 67 Labor, 5 others

This is the best-case scenario for the Coalition, and would likely result in fairly conventional Coalition control of the lower house. It should be noted that even in this scenario the Coalition is a long way short of a majority in a joint sitting. If the legislation which was used to trigger the double dissolution was reintroduced, passed by a Coalition majority House and blocked by the Senate, a joint sitting could be called. It would need 114 votes to pass legislation at this sitting. The Coalition can win 31 seats at best in the Senate, which would leaves it five votes short of a joint sitting majority.