10 Jul 2016

Australian PM claims tight election win

7:27 pm on 10 July 2016

Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has claimed election victory, as the Coalition edges towards a slim majority in the federal parliament.

Australia's Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull declares victory for the ruling conservatives at a press conference in Sydney on July 10, 2016.

Malcolm Turnbull declares victory for the ruling conservatives at a news conference in Sydney on 10 July. Photo: AFP

Labor leader Bill Shorten this afternoon conceded defeat, saying although counting was still under way, it was clear Mr Turnbull would form either a minority or majority government.

"We have resolved this election and have done so peacefully. It's something we should celebrate and not take for granted," Mr Turnbull said.

He welcomed Mr Shorten's offer to find "common ground", saying: "We need goodwill in this new parliament."

Mr Turnbull also spoke of the importance of family, saying his granddaughter Isla was on his lap when he took a congratulatory call from Mr Shorten this afternoon.

"Politics is a full-on, stressful business. Families bear the greatest load," he said.

The Coalition is on track to win at least 74 seats and is confident it can win the key Queensland seats of Flynn and Capricornia, which would deliver the party the 76 seats needed for a majority.

Labor leader Bill Shorten on election night on 2 July 2016

Labor leader Bill Shorten on the night of the election. Photo: ANADOLU AGENCY

Earlier, Mr Shorten said Australians deserved "nothing less" than a functioning parliament.

"I understand we need to make this parliament function and we'll be up for that," he said.

But he added Labor would be sticking to its guns on key issues such as Medicare.

"I expect them to do nothing less than to keep their promises they made to the Australian people," he said.

"And as I said, I wish Malcolm Turnbull well in what the future holds. But we also have a mandate to stand up for Medicare, to make sure schools are properly funded and to prioritise Australian jobs."

'It shouldn't take eight days to find out who's won'

Mr Shorten said he would write to Mr Turnbull to suggest a bipartisan push to embrace electronic voting, saying election results should not hang in the balance for so long.

"We're a grown-up democracy, it shouldn't take eight days to find out who's won," he said.

In 2013, Mr Turnbull said electronic voting should be considered as a way to reduce the number of informal votes.

Mr Shorten, who had previously indicated he would not concede until the Coalition officially won 76 seats, said he could not be prouder of Labor.

"I am proud Labor is back and that Labor is united," he said.

- ABC

Get the new RNZ app

for ad-free news and current affairs