Every 3 years in Australia we have a Federal election. State elections are every 4 years (for my home state of New South Wales) . The next state election, for NSW is March next year and the current state Government is expected to be removed from office because of the job they've been doing for the past 12 years, which some would argue isn't much of a job.
Federally, we had an election yesterday. The current Prime Minister, Julia Gillard, has only been PM for about two months, having "tapped her predecessor Kevin Rudd on the shoulder", with her party's apparent blessing. Labor have only been in Office federally for 3 years, and our last PM, the aforementioned Mr Rudd, a former diplomat, didn't really seem to have the goodwill of the people he governed. Some would say he behaved too much like a diplomat and not enough like a National Leader. Any, the current result of yesterday's election is basically deadlocked, with the Australian Labor Party (the current Government) winning 70 seats, and the Liberal Party of Australia (the major Opposition party) winning 71. There are 3 independents and 1 Greens who won yesterday. This basically means at the moment, that neither of the major parties has the necessary 76 seats to govern the country in their own right. Labor had a pre election majority of 18 seats and that's been blown out of the water.
The next week will show whether the Labor party governs with the support of the Independents and Green, or the Liberal Party govern with the support of the Independents. The Independents, were previously members of the coalition National Party (formerly known as the Country Party, representing the country seats and primary producers). The National Party has been in previous coalition with the Liberal Party, so its likely, but not certain that the Independents will seek a coalition with the Liberals, or vice versa.
What this basically means, is that if for some reason, there's a vote of no confidence in the whichever party takes Government, we're likely to have another election, and that's a possibility within the next 12 months.
Tighten your seat belts Australia, we're in for a bumpy ride.