PLENTY TO PONDER: Bill Shorten and Malcolm Turnbull will be hitting the phones over coming days as the cross-bench looms as key to election result.
PLENTY TO PONDER: Bill Shorten and Malcolm Turnbull will be hitting the phones over coming days as the cross-bench looms as key to election result. File

Queensland will be key to knife edge election

THE RESULT in six Queensland seats is set to decide the fate of the federal election with an outcome not expected to be known until the end of the week.

Some pundits have the Coalition on 70, Labor on 70 and Greens, Nick Xenophon and independents with five and five undecided.

But around 13 seats are still in doubt with six key Queensland seats among them.

Adding to the intrigue, it may well pan out that the two major parties snare three of those seats each.

"Key seats include Flynn, Herbert and Longman and they are still up in the air with Labor favoured to win all three," Blair MP Shayne Neumann said.

"I have spoken to campaign (members) and candidates in all three.

"Seats like Petrie, Forde and Dickson are very close and the Coalition would expect to win them but it is too close to call. Postals may favour the Coalition in all three seats.

"The LNP lodged more postals than Labor and historically people from older demographics plus country areas tend to vote postal, and that can favour the Coalition. But Queensland has again proved to be the key state.

"Labor has polled less than 46% two-party preferred in Queensland and there was a swing on to Labor, but not as much as Labor needed to form a majority government."

Western Australia swung to Labor but Labor did not pick up as many seats there as it hoped.

In Tasmania the ALP also received a swing and claimed the three seats it was hoping to pick up.

In NSW Labor has picked up key seats in western Sydney and the outer reaches of the city and in regional areas.

"Labor has won Eden-Monaro so it is no longer the bellwether seat," Mr Neumann said.

Labor is also ahead in Hindmarsh in South Australia by 432 votes, and a win there will be vital in the final washup.

In the Northern Territory there was a massive swing to Labor and against the Country Liberals with the ALP claiming Solomon in a landslide. Mr Neumann said both major parties were neck and neck and had under 70 seats at the moment that they could be sure of.

"They need to get to 75 to get 50% and 76 is the magical number," Mr Neumann said.

"It is too close to call and there are 12 or 13 seats where no-one really knows what is going to happen.

"It is 2010 all over where both sides have around the same number of seats and it is up to the cross-benchers to determine who forms government.

"You would expect the Greens would support us and you'd expect Andrew Wilkie could support Labor, although you can't be sure of those things.

"These things are all subject to negotiation and I am sure the Opposition Leader and the Prime Minister will be talking to the cross-benchers. I think we will have a pretty reasonable idea by Wednesday or Thursday. If anyone thinks they can pick the election now they are kidding themselves."

Mr Neumann said it was premature of Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull to say the LNP would form a majority government on Saturday night.

"And there are a lot of political analysts, pundits, pollsters and commentators who I am sure are pressing the delete button on their previous columns," he said.

The counting of postal votes will start today.


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