Liberals 'quietly confident' as vote counting resumes

Malcolm Turnbull (Reuters)
Malcolm Turnbull (Reuters)

Vote counting resumes today in Australia's federal elections, as millions of postal and absentee votes are sorted.

With the two major parties neck-and-neck, the incumbent Coalition government is "quietly confident" it will achieve a majority in the Lower House.

Meanwhile, the Labor Party is holding on to hope of forming a minority government.

The Coalition, which has 67 seats at the moment, looks best placed to scrape through. If not, Australia could be facing a hung parliament, where neither party has a majority. It would then be up to both parties to attempt to form a coalition or minority government.

Leaders of both major parties are continuing talks with independent MPs in an attempt to woo them.

Labor leader Bill Shorten has said he could work with anyone, but Liberal leader and current Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull hasn't indicated what he will do.

If a coalition or minority government is formed, New Zealand-born shock jock Derryn Hinch could find himself in the position of king maker. Mr Hinch was elected into the Victorian senate, after campaigning on the policy of increased penalties for child sex offenders and tighter bail and parole restrictions.

One Nation leader Pauline Hanson has also secured herself a senate win, 18 years after she lost the Queensland seat of Blair. Despite time outside politics, Ms Hanson remains largely unchanged. On Monday, she repeated a 1996 claim that Australia is being "swamped by Asians". She is calling for a royal commission into Islam and climate science, and wants to see Muslim immigration cease.

Counting could take a month to complete, wrapping up a campaign characterised as dull, boring and uninspiring.