With a swing underway against the Coalition government Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce has warned there will be utter chaos if the House of Representatives is awash with independents.
“The commonwealth would fail and it would be the end of government,” he said.
“We’ll literally not know who the prime minister is, no idea who the treasurer is.
“You’ll just have 150 babbling brooks saying whatever they like, whenever they feel like.”
Joyce wins in New England
Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce has retained his seat of New England, fighting off a strong challenge from Tony Windsor.
Mr Joyce was sitting on a primary vote of 51.23 per cent on Saturday night with more than half the vote counted.
The Deputy Prime Minister was in the fight of his political life, but he said ahead of the count he had done everything he could to hold on to the seat of New England.
He beat the former independent MP for the tightly contested northern NSW seat after a bitterly fought campaign.
Earlier, Mr Joyce was confident he would win, saying the sentiment towards him was strong in pre-poll booths around the electorate.
“In the seat of New England the bookies are right – the Nationals will hold,” he told reporters.
Mr Joyce is due to make a victory speech shortly.
Mr Windsor isn’t conceding defeat yet but admits it’s unlikely he will win.
Windsor is not conceding yet
He says the show is not over yet, and will not rule out having another tilt at the next federal election if he loses.
“You haven’t seen the end of me,” Mr Windsor told reporters.
He held the seat from 2001 until 2013, when he announced he would not stand in that year’s federal election.
Mr Windsor enjoys strong support from voters in his home base, with most openly backing their former representative, who held the seat for more than a decade.
Werris Creek local Beth Holley said it was time for Mr Windsor to return to parliament.
“He’s a great man, he’s an honest man,” she said.
Mr Joyce visited Aberdeen, Scone, Armidale and Woolbrook for a last-minute spruik for votes before returning to Tamworth.
He believes the sentiment towards him has been strong in pre-poll booths around the electorate.
“It’s going very strongly in our favour,” Mr Joyce said.
“In fact, one of the Greens people have said, ‘You’ve got it in the bag’.”
Regardless of the result, Mr Joyce has his Sunday already planned.
“I’m gonna get a chook, a salad and a bottle of wine and go up the river and have a picnic with the kids,” he said.
– with AAP