Australian PM declares narrow election victory

Australia's Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull on Monday returned to the capital, Canberra to decide on his cabinet ministers for the 45th Parliament, after he secured victory in the 2016 federal election. "We have gone through this election with fiercely fought arguments, issues of policy, issues of principle and we have done so peacefully and it's something we should celebrate".

"We'll deal with these matters as they arrive but we will not be engaging in the sort of wrecking ball approach that Tony Abbott took (in 2010)", he told ABC radio.

His coalition had 74 MPs at 0900 GMT - just two short of a majority - whilst the opposition All Labour Party had 66.

Shorten said he congratulated Turnbull and said his party would work with the coalition "where there is common ground". "It is vital that this parliament works".

While all bar five of the 150 seats in parliament will go to the coalition and Labor, smaller parties and independents won the backing of more than a fifth of voters, prompting calls for changes to the electoral system among smaller groups.

"It's vital that this parliament works - it is vital that we work together and as far as we can try to find ways upon which we can all agree."

Mr Shorten has repeatedly referenced Ireland's 2015 referendum on same-sex marriage, required by their constitution, as a "destructive" and "harmful" experience to be avoided while the Prime Minister has expressed confidence that Australians could have a respectful debate. A handful of seats remain too close to call, but Turnbull is expected either to be able to form a narrow majority or one that relies on support from a trio of independent lawmakers. "I have been an advocate of electronic voting for a long time. yes, this is something we must look at", said Mr Turnbull.

Even if Turnbull manages to hang onto his job, he has a slew of problems to contend with.

But he played down the scale of the challenge, saying that the previous Senate was also hard to navigate.

One of the greatest challenges for the Coalition will be getting its proposed budget changes through significant crossbench opposition in the Senate.

"It sounds very courageous and chest-beating when you say it anonymously", he said.

Labor leader Bill Shorten said the agreement should be publicly released.

A major business group hopes warnings over Australia's budget outlook from the world's biggest rating agencies should be a wake-up call for all members of parliament. "I don't envy Mr. Turnbull" because he needs to corral the various factions in his coalition.

"We are trustees for future generations. Everything we do is about the future".

"I respect that Mr Turnbull has won government - be it a minority government or a majority of one or two seats", Shorten said on Sunday.

Shorten told reporters it had been "the longest election in 50 years" and that it was "clear that Mr. Turnbull and his coalition will form a government". "But we also have a mandate to stand up for Medicare, to make sure schools are properly funded and to prioritise Australian jobs".

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