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Malcolm Turnbull has won, but his challenges are just beginning

The long election campaign and its aftermath are nearly over, but don’t expect the political dramas and shenanigans to end once the final vote is counted.

While you’ve been getting on with your life since election day, officials have carefully been counting the votes to determine who actually won.
And even though they’re still not finished, Opposition Leader Bill Shorten announced on Sunday that there are not enough uncounted votes left for Labor to win, meaning that Malcolm Turnbull and the Coalition had won the election.
At this point, the Coalition had 74 of the 76 seats it needed to hold government, whereas Labor had only 66, while 5 remained undecided.
Why has it taken so long to count the votes? Well it always takes this long, but we don’t notice because it usually becomes obvious on election night when around 70 per cent of the votes have been counted that one side or the other has won enough seats.
But this time the result was so close that neither side had won enough seats on Saturday night, meaning that we had to wait for all the votes to be counted. This can take more than a week because the electoral commission has to give enough time for postal votes to get through the mail, which as we all know is not the quickest way to get anything delivered.
So what happens now? Malcolm Turnbull will visit the Governor-General and advise he has the numbers to form government.
But before he does that, Turnbull, as leader of the Liberal Party, will have to reach a coalition agreement with Barnaby Joyce, the leader of the Nationals.
This is done each time the Liberals and Nationals agree to work together as a coalition. The agreement usually involves a commitment for the Nationals to have a certain number of seats in the ministry, and for the rural-based party to have certain portfolios such as agriculture and trade.
Once the PM has reached this agreement with the Nationals and been to see the Governor-General, he will announce a new ministry and get back into the business of running the country. This will happen in the next week or so.
Although supporters of former prime minister Tony Abbott have called for him to be returned to the ministry, Turnbull has made it clear he intends to promote younger MPs when replacing the two junior ministers who were voted out at the election.
This makes it likely some of Abbott’s younger supporters will be made ministers by the PM instead. However this won’t put an end to the troubles that Malcolm Turnbull has on his hands.
Even with the promise of a few more of their own being promoted to the new ministry, Abbott’s supporters are gearing up for a battle with Turnbull over the way the national vote will be held on same sex marriage. Those MPs don’t want gay marriage to be legalised even if the Australian community votes yes.
The Abbott camp also wants the PM to back down on the changes to superannuation announced in the 2016 budget.
And then there are the demands Labor will make on the re-elected Turnbull Government.
Labor leader Bill Shorten said on Sunday that he expected the Coalition to keep the promises it made to the Australian people during the election campaign, but that Labor would stand up for Medicare, make sure schools are properly funded and give priority to Australian jobs.
Given that some of the Coalition’s election promises were to freeze Medicare rebates and reduce school funding it will be interesting to see how Labor intends to keep the Government to these promises while simultaneously opposing them.
In addition to the Labor opposition, the re-elected Turnbull government will also have to deal with an assortment of independent and minor party MPs that were elected just over a week ago.
This will be particularly challenging in the Senate, where the Government will have to either do deals with Labor to get legislation passed or win the votes of a bunch of small party senators.
The second option will mean having to reach agreement with Nick Xenophon and his senators, Pauline Hanson and hers, as well as Jacqui Lambie and Derryn Hinch.
The long election campaign and its aftermath are nearly over, but don’t expect the political dramas and shenanigans to end once the final vote is counted.
Malcolm Turnbull may have finally won the election, but his challenges are only just beginning.

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