Election day is over and we still don’t know who won.
Malcolm Turnbull says he has “every confidence” the Coalition will be able to form a majority government.
But no-one can really say with certainty what the outcome will be — not even ABC election analyst Antony Green.
That raises a lot of prickly questions, so let’s lay it all out.
How did we get here?
OK, let’s keep this simple:
- To form a majority government, you need to win 76 seats.
- The Coalition has won 65 seats.
- Labor also has 67 seats.
- There are two independents, one Greens MP, one Nick Xenophon Team MP and Bob Katter.
- And 13 seats remain in doubt.
Green says the Coalition will win more of the seats that are in doubt.
So what could happen?
There are two main scenarios:
- The Coalition picks up nine or more of the “in doubt” seats and can form a majority government.
- The Coalition does not reach the 76 mark and Australia has a hung parliament.
Green says the Coalition will win more seats than Labor, so a Labor majority government is not a possibility.
What happens next?
It will be some days, at the very least, before we know the outcome in every seat.
Less than 80 per cent of the vote has been counted so far, and the PM says the Australian Electoral Commission will not do any further counting on Sunday or Monday.
Counting — including postal and absentee votes — will resume on Tuesday.
“The Liberal Party is much stronger on organising postal vote campaigns than Labor on recent elections,” Green notes.
When will we know who wins?
It’s not clear.
“It’s a cliche to say it will go down to postals but in modern voting trends that is important.”
There are bound to be disputes over votes and, in seats where it really comes down to the wire, there could be legal challenges.
Sometimes, with postal or absentee votes, it will be “a long and tedious process”, Green says, “because the parties will check every name that’s come in and check it against their list of who they think that’s voted and they’ll maybe question a signature here or date of birth on the form”.
What if it’s a hung parliament?
A hung parliament happens when no party has more than half the MPs in the House of Representatives, which means no party can pass laws without gaining support from other parties or independent members of the House.