Turnbull claims win but may find it hard to get his way
AUSTRALIAN Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull yesterday declared victory in the July 2 federal election, which gave him a slim edge in the Lower House and a reduced majority in the Senate, likely making it even more difficult for his jobs-and-growth agenda to be implemented.
"We have won the election," he told reporters after his Liberal-National Coalition was confirmed to have grabbed 76 seats, enough to form a majority government, the Sydney Morning Herald reported.
Bill Shorten, the leader of the Labor party which took 69 seats, earlier officially acknowledged that Mr Turnbull would form the government.
Two smaller parties - the Xenophon and the Greens - and three independents won the remaining five of the total 150 seats.
But according to Reuters, Mr Turnbull's narrow margin of victory over Labor leaves him likely to be forced to rely on the independents to ensure the passage of legislations.
That raises questions about how effective his government will be in the long term.
Labor vowed not to unduly disrupt the new Parliament, although it opposes much of the Coalition's agenda, from how to return to a budget surplus to a proposal for a A$50 billion (S$50.9 billion) corporate tax break.
Mr Turnbull has said budget savings would be "absolutely a very high priority" in the new Parliament but he may face problems in getting them passed due to the new make-up of the 76-seat Senate, the Agence France-Presse pointed out.
It was the Senate's blockage of two Bills he tabled that had triggered the first double-dissolution election since 1987.
The poll has not only boosted the number of Labor seats in the Senate but also brought in strong personalities such as the former shock jock Derryn Hinch, an independent, in addition to incumbent Senator Nick Xenophon.
While final Senate results may not be known until next month, anti-immigration politician Pauline Hanson's One Nation Party is also likely to hold at least three seats, a stunning comeback after it went into decline since 1998.
Senator Cory Bernardi, one of the Coalition's most vocal right-wingers, called the election "a disaster".
He has since made moves to establish his own conservative movement although he denies plans to defect from the Liberal party, the BBC reported.