Labor still hangs on the edge of majority government

Labor is close to securing the parliamentary seats it needs for a majority government, but some weekend election contests are still too close to mention.

According to official figures from the Australian Electoral Commission on Tuesday morning, Labor will win 75 seats, one less than a majority in the House of Representatives.

The Liberal-National Coalition has 59 seats.

There are six seats by a margin of less than 1000 votes: Deakin (Victoria), Ryan (Queensland), Gilmore (NSW), Grey, Sturt (South Australia) and Lyons (Tasmania).

In the Melbourne suburb of Deakin, former Liberal minister Michael Sukkar leads by just 55 votes.

The seats of Richmond (NSW), Macnamara (Victoria) and Brisbane (Qld), where the Greens are in the running, are also in the game, and the AEC has not yet published preferred numbers of two candidates.

Independent candidates lead with 10 seats, the Greens with two, while the Center Alliance and Katter’s Australian Party retain their seats.

Coalition MPs follow with 18 seats: Swan, Pearce, Tangney, Hasluck, Curtin (WA), Chisholm, Higgins, Kooyong, Goldstein (Vic), Wentworth, Reid, North Sydney, Robertson, Mackellar, Bennelong (NSW), Boothby and Gray ( SA).

Labor is behind two NSW seats – Fowler and Gilmore – it held ahead of Saturday’s election.

The Senate composition could take weeks to determine, but it appears that one of the victims will be Liberal minister Zed Seselja, who is defeated by the independent David Pocock, a former Australian rugby union international.

New treasurer Jim Chalmers says he plans to provide an economic update once the federal parliament resumes before handing over his first budget in October.

Chalmers wants to provide a detailed economic update when parliament returns in June or July to encourage a national conversation about the substantial economic challenges facing the new government.

“We can only solve these challenges if we work together,” he said on Tuesday.

Briefings by Treasury Secretary Steven Kennedy and other officials since the election had confirmed some of those challenges. †

“We have a trillion dollars of debt in the budget. There is substantial weakness across the board in the budget because there has been a lot of wasteful spending over the last decade,” he said.

Labor has indicated it will save $11.5 billion on the budget by ending the waste and disorder of the outgoing Morrison government and other initiatives such as making sure multinationals pay their fair share of taxes.

“Obviously, as more opportunities come from our control of rot and waste in the budget, we will pursue those as well,” Chalmers said.

“No government can click its fingers and wipe out a trillion dollars in debt all of a sudden.”

But he sees no reason why Australia should lose its triple-A rating, noting that it was a previous Labor government that achieved the highest rating of all three major global rating agencies.

“There is absolutely nothing about our plans that should change, or in my opinion will change the way the rating agencies look at our budget and our economy,” he said.


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