ANALYSIS: Turnbull hanging on by a thread
LIKE a naughty child resisting a parental instruction, voters have ignored major party leaders' warnings not to vote for independents or minor parties.
In doing so, they have injected the key ingredients for a potential hung parliament.
Voters have kicked out least 11 Coalition MPs, replacing them with Labor candidates, and a further 13 seats hang by a thread. This will be a week of counting.
The outcome of Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull's double dissolution election has been to reinstate at least five crossbenchers in the Lower House and, potentially, eight to 10 in the Senate, on top of the Greens.
The swing to Labor, nationally 2.8%, was strongest in South Australia, New South Wales and Tasmania. Smaller swings to the Opposition in Queensland mean the outcome of several seats will be determined by postal votes.
Those postal votes, in seats such as Flynn, Capricornia, Herbert, Dickson and Forde, are the ones leaving Mr Turnbull "quietly confident" he will be returned with a majority government, however slim the hold.
"Our experience is that these postal votes and pre-poll votes, indeed, traditionally favour Liberal and National Party candidates, especially when they are incumbents," he said yesterday.
"So if that trend were to be manifest again here, that is likely to deliver majority government to the Coalition, but time will tell."
Among the seats that had, or were likely to, change hands to Labor were three in Tasmania, four to six in New South Wales, and one each in the Northern Territory and Western Australia.
Mr Turnbull and Labor leader Bill Shorten had urged voters not to vote for independents or minor parties, but just more than 20% of the national primary vote, as of yesterday afternoon, was directed to the "other" vote.
Of that, the Greens secured a national vote of 10.02%, or more than 830,000 votes. Nick Xenophon Team and One Nation were the next biggest winners of the outsiders, respectively securing 1.3% (about 113,000 votes) and 1.97% (165,000 votes) of the vote.
The final outcome is unlikely to be known before the end of the week, particularly in the Senate, but neither major party yet has a licence to govern, let alone an outright mandate.
Before preferences, the latest data showed Labor on 71, the Coalition on 67, five on the crossbench and seven "undetermined" - six of which were Coalition seats in the last parliament.
Despite both major party leaders pledging not to do any deals to form minority government, if neither gets at least 76 seats that is exactly what they will be forced to do. To that end, Mr Shorten promised on Saturday night he would work with anyone in the parliament, extending congratulations to the independents.
Similarly, Mr Turnbull said it was important to recognise parliament was "the people's House" and that the Coalition would "work across the crossbenchers as well if we need to do so".