With independent candidates such as WA’s Kate Chaney threatening the major parties’ stranglehold on power, the prospect of a hung parliament remains a possibility.
If neither Labor nor a Liberal-National Coalition win enough seats to form government, then party leaders will be tossed into rounds of painstaking negotiations with the crossbench.
To take control of the House of Representatives, a party must win at least 76 of the 151 available seats.
Any less will result in a hung Parliament.
In order to gain power, the reds and blues must then persuade the independents to side with them and vote in favour of their bills.
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They do this by making deals and promises with the crossbenchers — because without their support they can’t pass legislation in the lower house.
The party leaders must also convince the Governor-General that they have the confidence of the house before being sworn in as prime minister.
What will happen if there’s a hung Parliament?
If there is a hung Parliament, the existing government remains in charge until a decision is made.
And if this occurs on May 21, incumbent Prime Minister Scott Morrison will have three options.
He could resign — if it looks like he won’t have enough support across the floor.
He could remain in his position and see whether the house has confidence in him — although he will then have to resign if he gets a vote of no confidence.
Or he could keep his title as PM while trying to get the independents to commit to “confidence and supply”.
Confidence is a guarantee from each abiding crossbencher that they will refrain from supporting anything that could cause the Government to fall.
And supply is getting the independents to confirm that they won’t disrupt the Government’s ordinary business like paying public wages.
Mr Morrison and Mr Albanese have remained tight-lipped on whether they would quit in the event of a hung Parliament.
Mr Morrison has said the choice is for Australians to make, adding that he had put his trust in the people’s “good faith”.
And Mr Albanese said he would finish campaigning with no fuel left in the tank, while hoping for a majority Labor Government.
When did Australia last have a hung Parliament?
Although hung parliaments are common around the world, they are rarely seen in Australia’s Federal political landscape.
They’ve only occurred twice in history since the two-party preferred system was introduced in the early 1900s.
The first time was in the 1940s during World War II.
And the second was during the Julia Gillard era.
Following the Federal election in 2010, the Australian Labor Party and the Coalition both had 72 seats at the final count.
In order to gain power, one of the major players had to gain the support of at least four crossbenchers.
Labor got a head start, forming an early alliance with the Greens followed by three other independents which led to the formation of a minority government.
Is a hung Parliament bad for Australia?
Although political giants such as former prime minister John Howard have cautioned Australians about voting for teal candidates, there are some benefits of having a hung Parliament.
It means the government’s agenda can’t pass through the lower house without negotiation, scrutiny and consultation — all of which help preserve a healthy democracy.
It can also strengthen policy.
But a hung Parliament doesn’t necessarily mean that no bills will pass.
When the Gillard government held power, more than 500 bills passed.
Majority governments such as Kevin Rudd’s passed about 400 pieces of legislation, so the minority government track record is not entirely destructive.
A hung Parliament does, however, have a reputation for being unstable and causing chaos.
They can result in heavy bargaining or “horse-trading” and pork-barrelling where a constituency may get more funding and commitments thrown at it from the Government in power in order to buy support from the independent MP.
Are any independent candidates in with a chance?
In WA, the polls show Ms Chaney could upset Liberal MP Celia Hammond in the blue-ribbon seat of Curtin.
According to Utting Research polling recorded days before the election, Ms Chaney was ahead on a two-party preferred vote of 52-48.
This week, even Liberal stalwart Julie Bishop, who served as the Curtin MP for two decades, predicted Ms Chaney would win.
Ms Chaney has refused to reveal who she would support in the event of a hung Parliament, instead saying she would prioritise talks with the party with the most seats.
The teal candidate is focused on climate and integrity.