Australian voters react to stalemate
Australians remain unsure of who will form their next government, after an inconclusive election outcome.
Prime Minister Julia Gillard has held initial talks with independent candidates to try to form a government, but opposition leader Tony Abbott said it was clear her Labor Party had lost its parliamentary majority and its legitimacy.
Here, Australian voters react to the current political vacuum.
Tony Walsh, Cairns
I voted for the Labor Party and had hoped that they would achieve a narrow victory.
The prospect of a hung parliament is scary to me as I would have preferred a majority government.
In my constituency of Leichardt the sitting Labor member, as I expected, was defeated.
The negotiations with the independents are bound to be vigorous and robust, as both Labor and the Liberals vie for their support.
Unfortunately I ultimately believe enough of them will side with the Liberal Party to allow them to form a minority government.
It will not be like in the UK, though, where there is a formal coalition. Ours will just be formed on the basis of a guarantee of support for most legislation.
Personally my life will not change much but I am disappointed that Labor has appeared to have been voted out after such a short time.
Daniel Forde, Melbourne
Tony Abbott should be prime minister.
The Rudd/Gillard government is similar to the Labour Party in Britain. It is addicted to spin and spending.
Another three years of them would have a disastrous effect on the accountability and level of governance.
The conservative coalition are also more united with a long history of good governance.
It is clear that the swing against Labor, combined with the coalition's higher primary vote, are two compelling reasons why Tony Abbott must be made PM of Australia.
George Greenwood, Sydney
I voted for the Greens for tactical reasons rather than a desire to see them in government.
Many of their policies I find attractive, especially the need to stringently examine the pros and cons of mass immigration.
I expected Julia Gillard to scrape back into power, but she was handicapped by cabinet leaks and a dysfunctional Labor government in the state of New South Wales, which inflicted a great deal of damage on the Federal Labor party.
Tony Abbott was handicapped by his poor image with the Australian population as a whole and by his ill-considered personal attacks on his opponent.
I can't see the Liberal/National coalition and Labor reaching an agreement and three of the so-called independents are former National Party members, so their natural home is with the Lib/Nat coalition.
The Green Party candidate elected to the House of Representatives has already asserted that he will not vote for Tony Abbott. So no coalition there.
I suspect that there will be a fresh election shortly.
I hope that both major party groupings will review their policies and their failure to attract a majority vote.
Muhammad Turay, Adelaide
I strongly believe that Labor will eventually form a government with the independents and the Greens.
The reasons being that the Greens before the election did a deal with the Labor Party and the independents are all former members of the Liberal and National parties.
I still think there is a lot of negotiation for the major parties to do to woo the independents, however.
Jemma Castle, Sydney
I feel excited by the prospect of a hung parliament because it expresses the disillusionment of the public with an uninspiring campaign by the two main parties.
I also think it's exciting that the independents and the Greens will have some power over the government.
Yes, I think it will be hard for the parties to negotiate and I think they will have to compromise.
It's also hard to say how it will affect Australia.
If anything, it could provide a better government, as I imagine the independents and Greens will act as a watchdog over whichever party forms the next administration.
Maher Sayadi, Perth
The ousting of Kevin Rudd left many Labor voters feeling bitter and Ms Gillard was branded a back stabber.
The mining super profit tax was ill informed and cost Rudd his job.
Labor thought replacing Rudd with Gillard and backtracking on the mining tax fiasco would appease voters before the upcoming election.
Rudd was popular with voters but the mining tax made him look bad.
All the votes for the minor parties came from angry Labor supporters.
Ben Newton, Melbourne
Julia is suffering for calling the election so early and for doing the dirty on Rudd.
I cannot see her remaining leader of Labor for long, even if she does manage to scrape together some sort of coalition with the independents.
Abbott is still pandering to the country votes and fear about so called "boat people", without really offering any alternative.
He will spend, just not as much.
I personally think a hung parliament is great for democracy - hopefully it will give the Greens good exposure and make the major parties work together rather than continuing to try to find tenuous weaknesses and differences in each other's so-called policies.