Currently the Liberal - National coalition have won 73, which includes a National MP in Western Australia who has not yet fully committed to supporting the Coalition.
Labor have won 72 seats. The Greens had previously committed to supporting a minority Labor goverment [link], bring Labor's total to 73.
Andrew Wilkie, the indepedent who has just won the seat of Denison in Tasmania, committed to supporting a Labor minority government today [link]. Wilkie's commitment boosts Labor to 74.
There are three remaining independents yet to decide who they will support.
Tony Windsor and Rob Oakeshott appear to share similar views on matters of policy and the conduct of government. The recent revelation of serious errors in Coalition budget estimates and promised found by Treasury means they are either incompetent or liars, which does not auger well for a future Abbott government.
Both Windsor and Oakeshott have stated that a price on carbon is needed as one of the measures to tackle climate change [link]. Abbott ruled this out during the election campaign and stated his government would not bring in either a carbon tax or an emissions trading scheme.
For these reasons (and a few more), I think Windsor and Oakeshott will support Labor too, which would give Labor 76 seats.
Bob Katter comes across as a rough diamond passionate about protecting the interests of rural Australia. There is no doubt that services and economic conditions in much of rural Australia have been neglected by political parties (and governments) intent on winning elections focussed on marginal seats. Katter was quoted today saying the "Nicholas Stern and Ross Garnaut are lightweights" along with some mutterings about climate change [link] - which seems to indicate he is the camp of politicians gulled by carbon industry PR.
Katter's background and the views of voters in his electorate would seem to push him towards supporting Abbott, but he may go along with his other two independent colleagues and support Labor too.
We should know by the end of this weekend coming.
The hung parliament has been the best possible result for the election, as our political system was being gamed by the major parties leading to many perverse policies, including unfair treatment of asylum seekers, avoidance of any real action on climate change to name a couple.
The benefits of this hung parliament are already clear. They include:
- reform of question time in parliament so that it real questions get asked and properly answered (3 independents)
- two-and-a-half hours of allocated debate for private members' bills (Greens)
- an independent speaker in the House (3 independents)
- bans (or limits) on donations to political parties (Greens)
- some tightening of policies relating to poker machines and problem gamblers (Wilkie)
- the scrapping of Labor's ill advised "Citizens Assembly on Climate Change" and establishment of a Climate Change Committee to replace it (Greens)
- a referendum on recognising Indigenous Australians (Greens)
- access to Treasury analysis of government and coalition budget estimates and statements (the three independents).
- the formation of a climate change committee
- a parliamentary debate on Afghanistan (Greens)
- legislation on truth in political advertising (Greens)
- the establishment of a Parliamentary Budget Committee (Greens)
- a parliamentary integrity commissioner (Greens)
- improved processes for release of documents in Parliament
- a leaders debates Commission (Greens)
- a move towards full three-year parliamentary terms (Greens)