Turnbull ‘scrapes over the line’ as he clings on to power in Australia election

Prime minister Malcolm Turnbull was looking set to retain power on Friday as he edged home after Australia’s knife-edge election. The conservative coalition leader will likely “scrape over the line”, his Labor opponent, Bill Shorten, said. As the vote count continued, both Mr Turnbull’s ruling Liberal/National coalition and Labor were short the 76 seats needed to claim a majority in the 150-seat House of Representatives. But with the count so close, the prime minister had little authority and Australians would be back at the polls “within the year”, Mr Shorten added.

The combination of a prime minister with no authority, a government with no direction and a Liberal Party at war with itself will see Australians back at the polls within the year

Bill Shorten

Australia has endured a “revolving door” of prime ministers in recent years, with leaders removed at the ballot box and via internal party room coups. Mr Turnbull, who called the election after becoming frustrated at delays to his economic reforms, has not yet claimed victory but the 61-year-old millionaire is now widely expected to remain as prime minister. He has lost the government’s comfortable majority in the House of Representatives in Saturday’s election after his campaign on jobs, growth and innovation failed to convince voters. Mr Turnbull is meeting independent lawmakers in the hope of patching together another working coalition.

We’re hoping to have a majority in our own right. But I deeply respect the decision of the Australian people at the election. Every vote counts and every vote must be counted and so we will await the completion of the counting.

Malcolm Turnbull