Business groups are hoping for a sensible approach when Prime Minister Scott Morrison wrestles with the possibility of a minority government after his surprise election win.
But trade unions are already setting out the battlelines, saying the Morrison government has no mandate “whatsoever” to further pursue an anti-worker agenda.
With just over 75 per cent of the vote counted on Sunday, the coalition appeared to hold 73 seats – three short of a majority.
Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry CEO James Pearson hopes the speeches made by Mr Morrison and outgoing Labor leader Bill Shorten on the importance of bringing Australians together will translate into a “sensible and calm approach” as government is formed.
“I’d like to think that that kind of approach is something perhaps we could see a bit more of in the next parliament,” Mr Pearson told ABC news on Sunday.
“We don’t know what the Senate is going to look like, we don’t yet know if the government will have a clear majority or will have to govern in some sort of arrangements with independents.”
Australian Industry Group chief executive Innes Willox expects the narrow win will require “extensive horse-trading”.
“We would urge all concerned to work together for durable outcomes to deliver widespread benefits and greater investment certainty for business,” Mr Willox said in a statement.
Both Mr Pearson and Mr Willox want to see the next government develop credible climate change and energy policies, issues that are a key focus of the crossbench in the lower house, made up of minor parties and independents.
“If we continue with a succession of rapidly reversed policies or no policy at all, at best we will see a costly patchwork of state and localised interventions,” Mr Willox said.
“At worst we will see our current energy disadvantage cemented and a receding ability to meet our emissions targets.”
Minerals Council of Australia CEO Tania Constable believes the coalition’s win means there is now a clear mandate for resources projects that have lawful approvals to proceed.
These include the Adani coal mine in central Queensland and the Yeelirrie uranium mine in Western Australia.
“This is a win for regional jobs, particularly in the big resources states,” Ms Constable said in a statement.
But the ACTU said the government’s narrow re-election win means it has no mandate and it will continue its ‘Change the Rules’ campaign until working people get a fair go.
“Morrison’s silence, despite repeated requests, on industrial relations policy means he has no mandate to undermine worker’s rights, pay or job security,” ACTU secretary Sally McManus said in a statement.
“This election shows how much the rich and powerful will invest, and how far they will go, to maintain a system that benefits them at the expense of the vast majority of Australians.”