Australia’s next parliament will be a balancing act, as a result of yesterday’s inconclusive general election. Neither Labor, under Prime Minister Julia Gillard, nor the centre-right Liberals have enough seats to govern alone.
It brings fears of instability, of weakening investor confidence. Commentators speculated over the role played by Labor’s having dumped Gillard’s predecessor Kevin Rudd just two months before the polls.
The Greens find themselves cast as kingmakers. With the Liberals and Labor roughly even for parliamentary seats, the Greens holding nine and independents to reckon with, opposition leader Tony Abbott said Gillard had lost her legitimacy to lead Australia.
It needs a majority of 76 to control the 150 seat parliament. Doing a deal is expected to take several days. Only then will the parliament’s new balance be known. Gillard took time for Sunday coffee with her partner Tim Mathieson… More deft negotiating lies ahead.