11 July 2016
by Matthew Knott
Bill Shorten concedes defeat
Opposition Leader Bill Shorten concedes defeat in Melbourne on Sunday.
Opposition Leader Bill Shorten has conceded defeat a week after Australians went to the polls and says he accepts that Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has a mandate to pursue the policies he took to the election.
Mr Shorten said he had spoken to Mr Turnbull on Sunday to congratulate him on his victory.
Labor is committed to making the 45th parliament work by finding 'common ground' says Opposition Leader Bill Shorten.
The Coalition is confident it will win the 76 seats required to form a majority government and could win 77 seats if the counting of postal and absentee votes continues to trend its way.
"I respect that Mr Turnbull has won government - be it a minority government or a majority of one or two seats," Mr Shorten said.
"I believe that the government has won the election absolutely."
Mr Shorten had previously acknowledged the Coalition was likely to "scrape" over the line but had not officially conceded defeat.
He said he respected Mr Turnbull has a mandate to pursue his policies but that Labor also has its own mandate from voters to defend its values.
He said the government should consider re-examining its superannuation changes to ensure they are not retrospective.
Mr Shorten said he would also write to Mr Turnbull to call for a bipartisan investigation into electronic voting.
"We're a grown up democracy - it shouldn't be taking eight days to find out who won and who lost," he said.
"We can't afford to let Australia drift for eight days after an election."
More than a week after the election fewer than 500 votes separates the major party contestants in five line-ball seats.
But the Coalition now has a narrow lead in two of those doubtful seats and looks increasingly likely win at least 76 seats giving the Turnbull Government an outright majority in the House of Representatives.
In three coastal Queensland electorates – Flynn, Capricornia and Herbert – the flow of postal and absentee votes has favoured the Coalition over the past few days. In Flynn, which stretches inland from the city of Gladstone, the LNP's Ken O'Dowd trailed his Labor opponent for most of last week but is now ahead by 391 votes with 5,783 left to count. In the electorate of Capricornia, to the north of Flynn, the LNP's Michelle Landry has also turned around a significant deficit and now leads her Labor opponent by 148 votes with 7263 to count.
On current trends those two seats look likely to go to the Coalition, ensuring the Turnbull Government's outright majority.
The Townsville-based seat of Herbert is still line-ball with Labor ahead by just 302 votes with nearly 7000 votes to be counted.
Outside of Queensland Labor is ahead in two more nail-biting contests. In the Adelaide seat of Hindmarsh Labor's lead fell to just 8 votes last week but has since improved. The ALP's Steve Georganas, who held the seat of Hindmarsh between 2004 and 2013, is now ahead of the Liberal incumbent, Matt Williams, by 247 votes with 4,535 votes to count.
On Sunday the Electoral Commission's virtual tally room lifted Labor's lead in the Perth seat of Cowan from 397 to 462 with 9,074 votes left to count. The ALP candidate in Cowan, Anne Aly, will become the first Muslim woman elected to Federal Parliament should she win.
At 1pm on Sunday the Coalition had won 74 seats, Labor 66 seats, there were five MPs on the crossbench and five seats were in doubt.