OPINION: ALP, Liberal or chaos? Australia chooses chaos

Pauline Hanson will now be courted by the major parties
Pauline Hanson will now be courted by the major parties TERTIUS PICKARD


HOW quickly the tunes change.

With the prospect of a hung Parliament, and no word yet on which side will take power, Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and Opposition Leader Bill Shorten have begun their attempts to woo minor parties.

As of Monday morning, the Coalition holds 65 seats, the Labor Party holds 67 seats and five have gone to independents or minor parties. To form government, the major parties need 76 seats.

While it's unclear where those remaining 13 in-doubt seats will fall, both Labor and the Coalition are rushing to hedge its bets.

This is a particularly tough position for the Prime Minister, who confirmed he was making contact with minor parties on Sunday.

Mr Turnbull told reporters he had spoken to "a number of crossbenchers" and told them: "We will be able to form a majority government".

"And in those circumstances, and indeed in any circumstances, we always seek to work constructively with all the members of the parliament, as we have done in the past."

In March, prior to calling the double dissolution that sent Australians to the polls early, Mr Turnbull described the deals that gave power to smaller parties after the 2013 election as "an embarrassment" and "a disgrace".

While the government's reforms knocked out some of the micro parties that troubled the Coalition, it has now delivered new threats from radio shock jock Deryn Hinch and One Nation's Pauline Hanson.

Mr Turnbull said the changes, which the Coalition passed with the Greens, were going to give Australians a better chance to be represented in Parliament.

"It will ensure that the Senate is, as closely as possible, representative of the wishes of the people at the election. And that, after all, is what parliamentary democracy is meant to do."

Mr Turnbull warned voters a month before the election not to vote for minor parties or independents, or risk "the chaos of a hung parliament" with "yet another minority government".

In response, it appears Australia has chosen chaos rather than support the major parties.

Labor's Bill Shorten meanwhile played a more cautious game during the campaign, saying before the polls that he would be prepared to do deals with independents like Nick Xenophon.

And if Labor wants a shot at the throne after Saturday's cliffhanger, it will have very little choice.

Topics:  bill shorten federal election 2016 malcolm turnbull opinion politics

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