Malcolm Turnbull 'Takes Full Responsibility' For Coalition's Election Nightmare

'There is a level of disillusionment with politics, with government, and with the major parties.'

05/07/2016 1:59 PM AEST | Updated 15/07/2016 12:56 PM AEST
Fairfax Media
Facing the music: Malcolm Turnbull says he takes full responsibility for a wayward campaign.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has claimed "full responsibility" for the Coalition's shock poor performance in Saturday's election, but simultaneously took square aim at Labor's Medicare scare campaign as a reason for the result.

In his first press conference since election day, the PM said the result showed that Australians had become upset at the state of politics today.

"There is no doubt that there is a level of disillusionment with politics, with government, and with the major parties. Our own included. We note that. We respect it," Turnbull said.

"Now, we need to listen very carefully to the concerns of the Australian people expressed through this election. We need to look at how we will address those concerns that's what the Deputy Prime Minister and I have been discussing today. There are lessons to be learned from this election."

Turnbull had given media just 20 minutes notice of the press conference, after dodging the press since Saturday. He said he had taken "absolutely full responsibility for the campaign," but in the next breath criticised Labor for its claims that a Liberal government would privatise Medicare.

"We have to recognise that the success of Labor's Medi-scare campaign, as it's been called, this extraordinary outrageous lie. The fact that this resonated at all, sends a very clear message to us. There is no doubt that Labor cynically abused the trust of Australians by lying to them about this," Turnbull claimed.

"What we have to recognise is that many Australians were troubled by it. They believed it or at least had anxieties raised with it. It is very clear that Barnaby and I and our colleagues have to work harder to rebuild or strengthen the trust of the Australian people in our side of politics when it comes to health. There is no question about that. This was a shocking lie. I'm not going to pretend it's anything else."

"But the fact that significant numbers of people believed it or at least believed it enough to change their vote, tells us that we have work to do and we are committed to that. That is a very clear lesson. We have to do more to re affirm the faith of the Australian people in our commitment to health and to Medicare."

The PM said Saturday's election was the largest, in terms of voters, in the country's history. He claimed 70 percent of all votes had been counted, but admitted that the count would continue "over the next few days". He also recommitted to securing a majority Liberal Government.

"We remain confident of securing a majority in the parliament. We remain confident of forming, reforming our government after the count is completed, but we do of course await the conclusion of the count and we will have a clearer idea of the direction over the next few days," he said.

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