Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull is set to form a coalition government after Governor General Peter Cosgrove accepted his advice to return to power for a second time.
Turnbull, 61, wrote to Cosgrove saying Opposition leader Bill Shorten had conceded defeat and the coalition had at least 74 seats in addition to the support from two independents.
“In these circumstances I advise you that I am in a position to form a ministry that has the confidence of the House of Representatives,” Turnbull wrote.
Noting Tunbull’s advice, Cosgrove wrote back accepting the advice.
“I accept your advice that you are in a position to form a ministry that has the confidence of the House of Representatives,” Cosgrove said.
“And I await your further advice on proposed changes to the ministry and related administrative arrangements,” he said.
Cosgrove is currently overseas. The Prime Minister met with secretary of the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet Martin Parkinson in Canberra.
As counting continues, three contests remain close – Hindmarsh, Capricornia and Herbert – but the coalition is confident of having 76 seats in the 150-seat lower house.
The Nationals’ 22 MPs, led by Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce, will meet tomorrow to discuss any changes to the agreement, which is essential to forming government.
Joyce will then meet with the Prime Minister on Wednesday.
There is pressure on the Liberal leader to give the Nationals an extra frontbench role, after the party gained an extra seat in the election, and conservative Liberals are seeking a stronger position in the ministry line-up.
Turnbull called an early election partly to establish a new mandate for his government after ousting unpopular Tony Abbott as conservative leader 10 months ago.
(With inputs from agencies).