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11 July 2016

Federal Election Result: Coalition Declares Victory

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has claimed a narrow Federal Election victory for the Coalition after Opposition Leader Bill Shorten conceded on Sunday that Labor has not won enough seats to form government. The Coalition has so far secured 75 seats and received confidence and supply commitments from Independent Cathy McGowan and Katter’s Australian Party (KAP) Leader Bob Katter. Labor has secured 66 seats to date; five seats have been won by crossbenchers and a further four electorates remain in doubt: Herbert and Capricornia in Queensland; Cowan in Western Australia; and Hindmarsh in South Australia. The seat of Forde was added to the Coalition’s tally over the weekend, with incumbent Liberal National Party (LNP) member Bert van Manen securing 50.6 per cent of the two-party preferred (2PP) vote to retain the Queensland electorate. The seat of Flynn has also been called for the Coalition this afternoon, with the LNP’s Ken O’Dowd returned. Labor remains ahead in three of the uncertain seats, while the Coalition leads in one. It is not yet clear whether the Coalition will secure the 76 seats needed to form government in its own right or require the support of crossbenchers.

In conceding defeat on Sunday afternoon, Opposition Leader Bill Shorten told reporters he had congratulated Mr Turnbull on the election result in a phone call earlier that day and expected the Coalition to do “nothing less” than honour the commitments it made to the Australian people. While maintaining Labor’s defence of Medicare and championing education, apprenticeships and jobs, Mr Shorten confirmed the Party will “search for common ground” with the Government and offered bipartisan support on the issue of electronic voting, saying it should not take eight days to determine who will govern in a “grown up democracy”. The Opposition Leader concluded his remarks by thanking the Australian people for the “choices and decisions they have made” and saying his Party will remain “true to Labor values”. Read Mr Shorten’s full speech here.
 
Prime Minister Turnbull claimed victory for the Coalition not long after Mr Shorten delivered his speech, holding a media conference in Sydney where he said the election had been resolved “peacefully and constructively”. He thanked the Australian people, his family, Liberal and National Party candidates and volunteers and welcomed newly-elected MPs; he also acknowledged the Coalition members who were not re-elected, saying politics is a “tough business.” Mr Turnbull said it is “vital” that the 45th Parliament works together to find common ground to “meet the great challenges Australia faces”, and committed the Coalition to delivering “good government” and “wise legislation” to build on the economy’s strengths. He said he agreed with Bill Shorten’s view that electronic voting should be explored, while also flagging the need to regulate election campaign “robocalls” and text messages in a similar way to television advertisements. Read the Prime Minister’s victory speech here.
 
The Prime Minister also confirmed yesterday the caretaker period is now over following the Opposition Leader’s concession and said the Coalition will hold its first party room meeting next Monday 18 July. It is expected Mr Turnbull will announce his Cabinet after the meeting and that he and his Ministry will be sworn in later next week.
 
The Prime Minister would not be drawn on whether he expects his Government’s industrial relations legislation – the trigger for the double dissolution election – to pass the new Parliament, saying the final makeup of both houses remains uncertain. Mr Turnbull also indicated the Coalition Ministry will remain largely the same as pre-election but noted there will be some necessary changes to replace members of the Ministry who were not re-elected on July 2. He did, however, confirm that the Government intends to reinstate extra resources for crossbenchers, as applied during the 2010 hung parliament, to ensure all MPs can “play a very constructive role” in the Parliament.
 
One of this week’s priorities for the Prime Minister, who returned to Canberra this morning, is to reach a new Coalition agreement with the Nationals, who are said to be emboldened by their positive election results (subject to the final outcome in seats still under deliberation) relative to their Liberal counterparts. The Nationals will hold a party room meeting tomorrow to discuss the terms of a new Coalition agreement, which may include additional ministerial representation and opportunities in traditionally Liberal-held portfolios, such as small business.


The Hon. Malcolm Turnbull MP
Prime Minister of Australia
Leader of the Federal Parliamentary Liberal Party
Member for Wentworth (NSW)
Liberal Party of Australia
 
Background
 
Malcolm Turnbull became Australia’s 29th Prime Minister in September 2015, when he defeated Tony Abbott in a leadership challenge, 54 votes to 44. He was elected Prime Minister of Australia after narrowly leading the Coalition to victory at the July 2016 Federal Election.
 
In May 2016, Turnbull instigated the first double dissolution election in almost 30 years when he requested the Governor-General dissolve both houses of Parliament so a Federal Election could be held on 2 July 2016. Turnbull’s actions were prompted by the blocking of two pieces of industrial relations legislation by the Senate that were central to the Government’s agenda. Turnbull said the Government would seek a mandate to pass the two bills, which are designed to re-establish the Australian Building and Construction Commission (ABCC) and place stronger regulations on union officials, triggering a 54-day election campaign; one of the longest general election campaigns since 1984.
 
Turnbull was first elected to the House of Representatives as the Member for Wentworth in 2004. Shortly after entering Parliament, he became Parliamentary Secretary to then Prime Minister John Howard. Turnbull was later promoted to Cabinet as Minister for Environment and Water Resources in 2007, shortly before the Coalition lost office at the general election later that year. Under Opposition Leader Brendan Nelson, Turnbull was appointed Shadow Treasurer; a position held until he replaced Dr Nelson as Leader of the Opposition in September 2008.
 
In December 2009, Turnbull lost the Opposition leadership by one vote to Tony Abbott which occurred following disagreement within the Coalition over Turnbull’s support for an emissions trading scheme. Turnbull then returned to the backbench where he remained until after the 2010 Federal Election and appointed Shadow Minister for Communications and Broadband. Following the Coalition’s return to Government at the 2013 Federal Election, Turnbull served as Minister for Communications in the Abbott Government from 2013 until being sworn in as Prime Minister in September 2015.
 
His inner metropolitan Sydney electorate of Wentworth is one of the smallest by geographic size in Australia. Located in Sydney’s east, it encompasses some of Sydney’s most affluent suburbs, including Vaucluse, Bellevue Hill, Point Piper and the beachside suburbs of Bondi and Clovelly. Wentworth has consistently been considered a safe non-Labor electorate and in 2010, experienced one of the largest swings toward the Liberal Party in the country.
 
Personal information and interests
 
Turnbull graduated from Sydney University with a Bachelor of Laws. While undertaking his studies – and for a period thereafter – he worked as a journalist covering NSW politics for Nation Review, Radio 2SM and Channel 9, as well as the London Sunday Times. In 1978, he won a Rhodes Scholarship and studied Civil Law at the University of Oxford’s Brasenose College.
 
In 1980, Turnbull returned to Australia and was admitted to the Bar. A short time later, he became General Counsel for the Packer media group, Consolidated Press Holdings. He then founded his own law firm, Turnbull McWilliam, and rose to public prominence during the ‘Spycatcher’ trial, where he successfully argued against the British Government’s attempts to suppress the memoirs of a former MI5 agent.
 
In 1987, Turnbull founded his own investment bank, Whitlam Turnbull & Co (later Turnbull & Partners), with former NSW Labor Premier Neville Wran and Nicholas Whitlam, previous Chief Executive of the State Bank of NSW and son of former Labor Prime Minister Gough Whitlam. In the mid-late 90s, Turnbull held a number of positions, including Chair of the Australian Republican Movement, Chairman of OzEmail Ltd, Director of FTR Holdings Ltd, Chairman and Managing Director of Goldman Sachs Australia, and member of the National Advisory Committee on Ageing. Turnbull was also a director of the Menzies Research Centre immediately prior to entering Parliament.
 
Turnbull has authored several books, including The Spycatcher Trial, The Reluctant Republic, and Fighting for the Republic: the Ultimate Insider’s Account. In 2003, he was awarded the Centenary Medal for services to the corporate sector.
 
Turnbull is married to the Chief Commissioner of the Greater Sydney Commission and former Lord Mayor of Sydney Lucy Hughes Turnbull. They have two adult children, Alex and Daisy, and two grandchildren.
About GRACosway
GRACosway is Australia's leading public affairs and corporate and financial communications counsel, and has been assisting organisations understand and navigate elections at federal and state levels for over 20 years. The firm provides a full suite of integrated services to a range of domestic and international clients across all industry sectors, including public policy, communications, regulatory, issues management and media relations advice. From offices in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide, Canberra and Perth (GRA Everingham), GRACosway’s clients benefit from the combined experience, expertise and strategic perspective of our team of professionals in addressing complex and commercially sensitive projects. For more information, visit www.gracosway.com.au
 
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