Flow of postal votes could save Malcolm Turnbull's ship
POSTAL votes are slowly giving the Coalition hope of gaining a parliamentary majority.
Counting postal votes only began on Tuesday and have favoured the Coalition in many knife-edge seats.
As of midday on Wednesday the ABC was projecting the Coalition had won 70 seats and the Labor Party 67. Any party needs 76 seats to form government.
Labor's lead in the marginal southern Brisbane seat of Forde was a low as 77 votes on Wednesday.
Even Longman Liberal MP Wyatt Roy expressed hope he could hold onto his seat with about 59% of postal votes favouring him. But he admitted he needed more than 60% of the postal votes to hold his seat.
ABC election analyst Antony Green yesterday said the numbers were starting to fall in the Coalition's favour.
But he said an outright majority was looking less likely.
"I think they can get to 76 (seats); 73 is a definite; 74 is also likely; 75 is possible; 76 is less possible," he said.
"It's still either a very, very narrow Coalition majority, or it's a hung parliament. The Coalition will have more seats than Labor."
Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has continued to maintain the Coalition will gain an outright majority.
Speaking to Channel Nine on Wednesday, Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce said he supported Mr Turnbull's leadership and believed he was doing a better job than former PM Tony Abbott.
"Look it's the hardest job in the book to be Prime Minister during an election campaign and I think Malcolm is definitely the leader the nation needs," he said.
Mr Joyce also said he expected the National Party to play a greater role if the Coalition is able to form government.
EARLIER: Coalition takes lead in marginal seats as counting rolls on
OVERNIGHT vote counting has seen the Coalition take the lead in some marginal seats but it may still struggle to form a majority government.
The Australian Electoral Commission began counting postal, absentee and pre-poll votes yesterday with the early results favouring the Coalition.
The ABC has called 70 seats for the Coalition and 67 for Labor. Eight seats remain too close to call.
The Coalition will need to win six of those in order to reach 76 seats and have a majority in the parliament.
Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said the Coalition had "common values" with lower house crossbenchers like Bob Katter and Cathy McGowan and a "respectful" relationship with Nick Xenophon - potentially pre-empting a minority government arrangement.
Did Labor's "Medi-scare" campaign affect your vote?
This poll ended on 06 August 2016.
No, I knew Bill Shorten was lying because his lips were moving
Yes, it was part of the reason I voted Labor
Yes, but I voted for neither of the major parties
Yes, but I still voted for the Coalition
I ignored all that stuff so I could draw pictures on my ballot
This is not a scientific poll. The results reflect only the opinions of those who chose to participate.
The Australian is reporting a post-election briefing to senior Nationals MPs took credit for "saving the government from an election loss" and criticised the Liberals campaign strategy.
"The Nationals outperformed the Liberals by a country mile in this election,'' the briefing said.
The report criticised the lack of negative ads and failure to attack Labor on border security, national debt and the carbon tax.
Mr Turnbull on Tuesday said he took "full responsibility" for the campaign.
Meanwhile a Morgan poll published in News Corp papers could take pressure off Mr Turnbull's leadership finding he is the preferred Prime Minister over Labor leader Bill Shorten.
The poll also found Mr Turnbull was significantly more liked as Liberal leader than former Prime Minister Tony Abbott.
- ARM NEWSDESK