Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has claimed victory in the federal election, as the Coalition edges towards a slim majority in federal parliament.
“This is a great day today,” Mr Turnbull told a press conference in Sydney, after Labor leader Bill Shorten conceded defeat.
“We have resolved this election and have done so peacefully. It’s something we should celebrate and not take for granted.”
The Coalition is on track to win at least 74 seats, and is confident it can win two more, giving it enough seats to govern in its own right.
Earlier this afternoon Opposition Leader Bill Shorten offered to work with Mr Turnbull to find “common ground” and make the parliament work.
The Prime Minister said he welcomed that offer and would work with Labor to try and fund essential services while balancing the budget.
“These challenges are not easy there’s no simple solution but that’s why they need our best minds, our best brains, above all our best goodwill in our new parliament to deliver that,” he said.
“It’s vital that this parliament works — it is vital that we work together and as far as we can try to find ways upon which we can all agree.”
The Prime Minister also said he had had “very constructive” discussions with crossbenchers in both houses of Parliament.
Even if the Government wins a narrow majority in the Lower House, it will be anxious to give itself political cover by courting the five Green and independent MPs in the House of Representatives.
PM pledges to give crossbenchers necessary resources
Mr Turnbull indicated that he would give crossbench MPs additional staff and resources, just as Labor did with independents in the hung parliament of 2010.
“It is my commitment to work in every way possible to ensure that the crossbenchers have access to all of the information they need and all of the resources they need to be able to play the role they need in this parliament,” he said.
Mr Turnbull is likely to face stiff opposition to his agenda from a raft of new Senators elected a week ago — including senators from One Nation and the Jacqui Lambie Network.
But he played down the scale of the challenge, saying that the previous Senate was also difficult to navigate.
“There were eight crossbenchers in the last Senate. What you’re saying is that there will be one more. There will always be crossbenchers in the Senate,” Mr Turnbull said.
‘A moment I’ll never forget’
The Prime Minister said it was too early to speculate whether the Government would be able to pass the legislation which he used to trigger the double dissolution election — bills to crack down on union corruption and reinstate the construction industry watchdog.
“As to what the numbers will be, we await the determinations of the AEC, and of course many of these future senators will have open minds on this issue,” Mr Turnbull said.
He flagged some changes to the ministry due to MPs losing their seats, and said the Liberal partyroom would meet on July 18.
The Prime Minister said his granddaughter Isla was on his lap when he took Mr Shorten’s concession call, and he was “deeply, deeply touched” by the moment.
“That’s a moment I’ll never forget,” an emotional Mr Turnbull said.
“It was a reminder that we are trustees for future generations. Everything we do is about the future.”