Australia

Fed govt may need Reps crossbench: Wilkie

Independent MP Andrew Wilkie has defended the power of the six-member crossbench in the lower house. (AAP)

Independent MP Andrew Wilkie says the federal government is just one bad by-election away from needing support from the crossbench in the lower house.

The federal election result may have diluted the importance of the crossbench in the House of Representatives.

But Tasmanian MP Andrew Wilkie says the government is just one bad by-election away from having to seek the support of the six-strong crossbench in the lower house.

"The numbers are still pretty tight," Mr Wilkie told Sky News on Thursday.

"Just that one bad by-election would mean the government would have to rely on the casting vote of the speaker."

Prime Minister Scott Morrison's coalition won 77 of 151 lower house seats on May 18 - an increase from the 150 seats it secured at the previous federal poll.

Mr Wilkie said history showed it was not unusual for there to be an upset in one seat, be it due to an MP being impacted by ill health or misadventure or even changing sides.

So far, the coalition is treating the crossbench with respect.

"The prime minister had us for a drink in his suite last night," Mr Wilkie said.

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