Scott Morrison plans to prioritise his promised tax cuts after he settles his new ministry line up, as the nation waits to see if the coalition gets a majority in the lower house.
As counting continues on Monday the Liberal and Nationals were on 75 seats—two seats short of the 77 it needs to form a majority in the House of Representatives after providing a speaker—with Labor on 65 seats and six crossbenchers.
Of the five seats still in doubt, the Liberals are ahead in Bass and Chisholm while Labor was ahead in Cowan, Lilley, and Macquarie.
Wentworth is set to be called for the Liberals’ Dave Sharma over high profile independent Kerryn Phelps, who will hold a press conference at noon when she is expected to concede defeat.
The prime minister says while Australians expect him to get on with the job he doesn’t want the nation to be riven by the politics of division.
“We don’t want to have this sort of country where we try and hold some people down to lift other people up,” he told Sydney radio 2GB on Monday.
“We don’t want to set people against each other, we don’t want to have that politics of division.”
NSW Liberal senator Arthur Sinodinos is optimistic the coalition form a majority government although a “wafer-thin” majority would certainly keep parliament on its toes.
“It’s actually important because it encourages everyone in the parliament to realise that there’s a diversity of views out there and the role of the parliament is how to best reflect those views,” he told ABC Radio National.
The first sitting of the new parliament could occur before June 30, with the government seeking to nail down the legislation to deliver tax cuts of up to $1080 to Australians earning up to $126,000.
The coalition’s plans also include improving mental health services, social media content laws and drought recovery policies.
But Senator Sinodinos says the government should also consider adopting some of the policies Labor took to the election, including better funding for cancer care.
Morrison also needs to fill a number of spots in his ministry due to retirements, including indigenous affairs, industrial relations, and human services.
Meanwhile, Labor’s national executive will gather for a teleconference on Monday to discuss the process is set for a long period of introspection as well as a leadership ballot.
Frontbencher and former leadership challenger Anthony Albanese has announced his formal challenge after Saturday’s “devastating result” for the party.
Deputy leader Tanya Plibersek will announce her bid on Monday while shadow treasurer Chris Bowen is also expected to put himself forward.
Bill Shorten will stay on as interim leader while the leadership ballot process goes through.