Labor under Anthony Albanese will govern in majority with at least 76 seats in the House of Representatives despite a record non-major party vote and crossbench.

The ABC’s election analyst Antony Green on Monday night called the south Melbourne seat of Macnamara for Labor, with the returning MP, Josh Burns, guaranteeing an ALP majority in the 151-member lower house.

On Sunday the prime minister told Sky News he would seek to form a “constructive relationship” with the expanded crossbench, despite not having to rely on their votes to pass legislation.

Albanese has previously said a slim majority was “a very good thing for stability”.

Two seats are still in contention: Gilmore, where the Labor incumbent, Fiona Phillips, has taken a slim lead of less than 200 votes against the Liberal Andrew Constance; and Deakin, where the former assistant treasurer Michael Sukkar has a buffer of almost 1,000 votes on his Labor opponent.

On Saturday the seat of Brisbane was called for the Greens’ Stephen Bates, who overtook the Liberal MP Trevor Evans when the Labor candidate Madonna Jarrett’s preferences were distributed.

Labor and the Liberal-National Coalition have slumped to primary votes of 32.8% and 36.1%, with a record one in three Australians voting for minor parties or independents.

The 47th parliament will have a record crossbench of at least 16, with at least four Greens and 12 independents or other minor-party MPs.

The result is particularly devastating for the Liberals, with the loss of many heartland seats held by former prime ministers including Bennelong, Wentworth, Kooyong and Higgins.

The Nationals retained their 16 seats but still dumped their leader Barnaby Joyce at a party room meeting on Monday.

The Victorian MP Darren Chester and Joyce’s deputy, David Littleproud, both put their hands up for the job. Littleproud, a Queensland MP, won, with the New South Wales senator Perin Davey to serve as his deputy.

The former deputy prime minister Michael McCormack has been critical of Joyce as a factor for Liberal losses in metropolitan seats that have pushed the Coalition into opposition.

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The Liberal party will be led by Peter Dutton in opposition, with the former environment minister Sussan Ley to serve as his deputy after the pair were elected unopposed on Monday.

But the policy direction of the Liberals is unclear, with some conservatives including Stuart Robert urging it to maintain centre-right policies while moderates including Andrew Bragg suggest it should embrace free childcare, an Indigenous voice to parliament, protections for LGBTQ+ students and more ambitious climate targets.

Dutton has said the party “needs to come together”, promising to lead a broad church that is Liberal rather than just moderate or conservative.

Although Dutton has attempted to soften his image by conceding he “made a mistake” by boycotting the apology to the stolen generations, he has signalled he is willing to fight Labor over power prices rather than seek to end the climate wars by accepting its mandate for a 43% emissions reduction by 2030.

Labor is yet to finalise its frontbench lineup, with the party in search of replacements for Terri Butler and Kristina Keneally, the former shadow environment and home affairs ministers who were defeated in Saturday’s poll.

The Queensland MP Anika Wells and the NSW MP Kristy McBain are considered well-placed for promotion, as the right faction needs to boost its female representation.

Western Australia, where Labor flipped four Liberal seats, is also likely to increase its representation on the frontbench.

Albanese told Triple M on Friday the Coalition government had been “arrogant” towards the state, citing its support for Clive Palmer’s case to open the WA border and Scott Morrison likening the need to ease restrictions to the animated movie The Croods.

He told 2Day FM he wanted politics to “function differently”, crediting the frontbencher Tanya Plibersek for apologising to Dutton after likening him to the fictional Harry Potter villain Voldemort.

“I think the nastiness of the last parliament, where anytime we tried to speak on anything, we just got shut down [needs to stop],” he said.

“I actually want it to be a place of an exchange of ideas. And I think that people who have been elected deserve to be treated with respect.”


Paul Karp

The GuardianTramp

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