Labor edges closer to majority, with 75 seats

by The New Daily


Prime Minister Anthony Albanese remains just a single seat short of a parliamentary majority in vote counting, after a Liberal MP conceded a Queensland seat.

The Greens remained hopeful on Thursday of securing at least three seats in the lower house by winning electorates previously held by the two major parties.

In Queensland, Julian Simmonds – the MP for the Brisbane seat of Ryan – became the latest Liberal MP to concede defeat following the federal election. The winner is expected to be confirmed as Greens candidate Elizabeth Watson-Brown.

“I’m incredibly proud of what we’ve been able to achieve together, especially in a time of unprecedented adversity,” Mr Simmonds wrote his Facebook page on Thursday.

He said the Liberal Party was “crying out for more good people in politics”.

“This team of young, passionate professionals give me the greatest hope that our country’s best days lie ahead,” Mr Simmonds said of his staff and volunteers.

Mr Simmonds posted a photograph of his boots from the Brisbane floods as a “reminder of where we’ve been, what we’ve achieved together, and that even when all hope seemed lost, we never give up”.

Greens leader Adam Bandt said the minor party would not yet concede or declare victory in Brisbane and the Victorian seat of Macnamara, where the margin of votes is slim.

He said anyone already allocating those seats to one party or another was wrong.

“I’m still very hopeful that [Macnamara candidate] Steph Hodgins-May is in with a chance of getting over the line and we will be looking at every last vote,” Mr Bandt said in Melbourne.

The Australian Electoral Commission is yet to provide a two-candidate preferred count in Macnamara, while the primary vote race between Labor, the Liberals and Greens remains very close.

In Brisbane, Labor’s Madonna Jarrett is holding on to her primary-vote lead over the Greens, which will put her in a strong position to take the seat from Liberal MP Trevor Evans.

She is 672 votes ahead of the Greens’ Stephen Bates.

As of Thursday afternoon, the AEC had Labor with 75 seats to the Coalition’s 60, the Greens with three seats, and 12 on the cross bench.

The commission is conducting new postal vote counts for the lower house and Senate as well as the rolling process of “mandatory secondary counts” involving fresh scrutiny of ballots cast.

On Thursday afternoon, Labor MP Brian Mitchell appeared to have enough votes (1132) to fend off Liberal challenger Susie Bower for the Tasmanian seat of Lyons. That gave Labor 75 seats – one short of the 76 it needs for the barest of majorities in the 151-seat lower house.

In the tightest race yet to call, Liberal candidate Andrew Constance is 114 votes ahead of sitting Labor MP Fiona Phillips in the NSW south coast electorate of Gilmore.

Outgoing minister Michael Sukkar is in a more comfortable position, 947 votes ahead of Labor rival Matt Gregg for the Victorian seat of Deakin.

In the Senate, the Coalition is on track to hold 31 seats, with 26 for Labor in the 76-seat chamber.

The Greens are expected to hold 12 Senate spots, with One Nation likely to hold two seats.

Meanwhile, a task force established to ensure the security of high-office holders and parliamentarians during the election received a total of 73 complaints during the campaign.

Operation Wilmot accepted 37 complaints for criminal investigation, with 24 the subject of ongoing inquiries, a federal police spokeswoman said.

Thirteen investigations were finalised with no criminal charges. One charge – involving a man who allegedly threatened a member of Barnaby Joyce’s security detail – was brought to court.

-with AAP