Turnbull poised to win majority in Australian election
Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull looks set to hold power, with at least 76 of the 150 seats in the Australian federal parliament.
This follows a surge in postal votes that has helped the Coalition close the gap with Labor in four undecided seats and extend its lead in another.
Two of those seats are on Queensland’s coast and the others are in Adelaide and Perth.
Labor holds a slim lead in the four closest undecided seats but this is being cut back as counting continues.
The fifth, also in Queensland, has the sitting Coalition member widening his lead over Labor after being behind in the count on Tuesday night.
Labor leader Bill Shorten has not conceded victory but has said it is now “more likely” Mr Turnbull will form the government.
The Coalition stands to gain up to 77 seats if it takes two of the undecided seats, giving it a majority even after appointing the Speaker of the House of Representatives from its own ranks.
The Coalition is also counting on support from Queensland independent Bob Katter, who met Mr Turnbull yesterday to discuss the terms.
This would be a big contrast with the 2010 election that gave Labor only 72 seats to form a minority government that depended on the Greens and independents to pass legislation.
The closest seat is Hindmarsh in South Australia, held by Liberal MP Matt Williams.
After the latest count issued by the Australian Electoral Commission, he has cut the Labor lead from 347 votes on Tuesday to 151 on Wednesday and now just 68.
State of play:
House of Representatives: Liberal/National 74, Labor 66, Others 5. Undecided: 5.
Senate: Liberal/National 26 plus 2 likely, Labor 23 plus 2 likely, Greens 3 plus 3 likely, One Nation (Pauline Hanson) 1, Nick Xenophon Team 2 plus 1 likely, Derryn Hinch's Justice Party 1.