In a massive election night upset, the Coalition is on track to win more seats than Labor and is now the frontrunner to retain government.
In a result which opinion polls and betting markets failed to predict, Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s Liberal Party and the Nationals have recorded strong swings to them particularly in Queensland – enough to see a possible Coalition majority.
The knife-edge election now hangs on Western Australia, where polls have closed.
Veteran ABC election analyst Antony Green said a Coalition victory was now more likely, with a majority even possible, as Labor struggles to pick up enough seats even in Melbourne, in its strongest state Victoria.
‘The government’s on track to win more seats than Labor,’ he said, shortly after 8pm.
Meanwhile, betting markets have turned with Sportsbet now putting the Coalition as election favourites at $1.65 to Labor’s $2.20.
Former prime minister Tony Abbott has become the first major casualty lost of an increasingly uncertain election, losing his blue-ribbon seat of Warringah after 25 years in Parliament
The Coalition has not won a Newspoll since 2016 and Labor had won 55 consecutive Newspolls going into the election.
It now appears Labor leader Bill Shorten’s big-target strategy has backfired, with voters rejecting his plans to curb negative gearing tax breaks for investor landlords, deprive share-owning retirees of franking credits and slash carbon emissions by 45 per cent by 2030.
The Liberal Party, however, has been punished in Sydney’s wealthiest electorates.
Former prime minister Tony Abbott has become the first major casualty lost of an increasingly uncertain election where the Coalition is now ahead, losing his blue-ribbon seat of Warringah after 25 years in Parliament.
His independent challenger Zali Steggall, a Winter Olympic skiing medalist, has romped home on Sydney’s northern beaches in a contest fought over climate change action.
Steggall had an impressive 49.2 per cent of first-preference votes compared to just 35.4 per cent for Mr Abbott, in early counting, representing a mammoth 11.4 per cent swing against the Liberal Party.
‘I know I’m going to sound croaky but what a day,’ she said, claiming victory.
Taking a dig at her socially-conservative opponent Mr Abbott, she this was ‘a win for moderates with a heart.’
‘I will be a climate leader for you,’ she said. ‘I will hold the new government to account and make sure they take action on climate change.’
She paid tribute to the former PM’s ‘work ethic and contribution to this community’.
Conceding defeat, Mr Abbott said: ‘I’d rather be a loser than a quitter.’
He also declared Mr Morrison, who replaced Mr Turnbull as PM in August, would be a Liberal Party legend.
‘Scott Morrison will rightly enter the Liberal pantheon forever,’ he said.
Across Sydney Harbour, independent Kerryn Phelps has recorded a massive 34 per cent swing to her on primary votes, with her Liberal challenger Dave Sharma hit with a 15.4 per cent swing against him in former PM Malcolm Turnbull’s old seat.
TONY ABBOTT’S CONCESSION SPEECH
I’m going to do something which I did 25 years ago, in a earlier speech at this club.
And that was the speech I gave at my pre-selection. I’m going to move this lectern out of the way.
Well, first, I want to say to all of you that tonight we’ve got good news and, yes, we’ve got a little bit of bad news. But the good news is much more important than the bad news.
The good news is that there is every chance that the Liberal-National Coalition has won this election!
This – this is a really extraordinary result. It is a stupendous result. It is a great result for Scott Morrison and the rest of the wider Liberal team, and Scott Morrison will now, quite rightly, enter the Liberal pantheon forever.
So… So, of course, it’s disappointing for us here in Warringah, but what matters is what’s best for the country. And what’s best for the country is not so much who wins or loses Warringah, but who forms, or does not form, a government in Canberra.
And tonight we can be extraordinarily confident, more confident than we ever had any right to expect, that we will have continued good Liberal-National government.
Now… I have to say that once we had the result in the Wentworth by-election, uh, six months or so back, I always knew it was going to be tough here in Warringah. And I can’t say that it doesn’t hurt to lose. But I decided back then, in October of last year, that if I had to lose, so be it. I’d rather be a loser than a quitter.
And I do acknowledge the fierce and ultimately successful campaign that has been waged by my political opponents in this speech. I do congratulate Zali Steggall on what is a magnificent win for her.
And I hope that she will have the long and successful career as local member that the people of Warringah deserve.
But I think we can see that there is something of a realignment of politics going on right around this country. It’s clear that in what might be described as ‘working seats’, we are doing so much better.
It’s also clear that in at least some of what might be described as ‘wealthy seats’, we are doing it tough, and the Green left is doing better.
But the truth is that if you believe that the most important thing is to raise people up, if you believe that the most important thing is to give people a better life, the fact that so many people in seats that might be thought of as doing it tough are now looking to our party for leadership is a great tribute and a great credit.
To our party, to our Government.
Over the next few days and weeks, I suspect there will be a great deal of analysis of the part that climate change did, or did not, play in the Warringah outcome. And let me just say this, as my first word, if not necessarily my last word, on this subject.
Where climate change is a moral issue, we Liberals do it tough. But where climate change is an economic issue, as a result, tonight shows we do very, very well.
It’s often said that all public lives end badly. But I’m certainly not going to let one bad day spoil 25 great years.
I’m incredibly proud of all that I’ve done. Obviously, there are some things that, with the wisdom of hindsight, might have been done differently and better. But I’ve gotta say that I can look back on the last 25 years – and I do look back on the last 25 years – with immense pride and satisfaction.
And I’m incredibly proud of the fact thatso far, I am one of just four people in history who has led our party from opposition into government in Canberra. And I hope that the Morrison Government has such a long life that it’s a long time until there is a fifth.
Finally, some thankyous.
I don’t believe that the Warringah campaign could have done more or done better. I think every aspect of our campaign was as good as it humanly could have been under the circumstances. I want to thank Peter O’Hanlon for his outstanding job.
I thank Michelle Moffatt for her outstanding work as the deputy. And I think Roger Corbett, a really great Australian, for coming into the team as my conference president. I thank my staff. I could not have had a better, more loyal and more professional staff, particularly Sam Jackson-Hope.
I thank my family. Margie, you have been a wonderfully supportive spouse.I thank my children, two of whom can’t be here tonight, but one of whom did a wonderful job of winning votes up at Allambie Heights School.
I thank my mum. We are all what our parents made us. And I thank my sisters, all three of whom were booth captains today. For the first time ever, uh, politics has finally become a family business.
Just as I bow out of it! Finally, I do want to say a big thankyou to the people of Warringah. I could not have achieved anything in public life but for the support that the people of Warringah have given me over 25 great years. My public life will, I imagine, go on. My life as member for Warringah will not.
But Warringah is the place I live. It’s the place I will continue to serve. And I look forward to many, many more years living, working and serving in the greatest part of the greatest city of the greatest country on earth.
In Queensland, Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton has survived and recorded a 3.8 per cent to him in his marginal northern Brisbane seat of Dickson, despite earlier controversy earlier in the campaign where he questioned the living arrangements of his Labor opponent Ali France, who lost a leg in 2011.
The Sunshine State is looking bad for Labor, with the ABC predicting it will lose the outer-northern Brisbane seat of Longman and the Townsville-based seat of Herbert, with swings of five per cent against it.
The Liberal National Party is also recording strong swings to it in its marginal seats of Capricornia, Dawson, Petrie and Forde.
Senior Labor frontbencher Penny Wong acknowledged the areas of Australia north of the Tweed were historically hard for her party to maintain support.
‘Queensland’s tough for us,’ she told the ABC.
NSW Liberal senator Arthur Sinodinos said Prime Minister Scott Morrison was ‘straight forward’ and popular in the outer suburbs of Brisbane.
‘A personifies a certain daggyness people aspire to,’ he told the ABC.
Senator Sinodinos said the anti-Adani protests led by a former Greens leader – ‘Bob Brown’s caravan’ – had also hurt Labor in north Queensland.
Tasmania is also punishing the Opposition, with the regional seats of Bass and Braddon going to the Liberal Party with swings of six per cent.
Labor is also suffering double-digit swings against it in in western Sydney, where it looks likely to lose the seat of Lindsay and possibly neighbouring Macquarie.
This is in stark contrast to an early Nine Network/Galaxy exit poll which showed Bill Shorten would be Australia’s next prime minister, with the Opposition ahead of the Coalition 52 to 48 per cent on a two-party preferred basis nationwide.
The poll surveyed 33 electorates across six states and found a swing to the ALP in every state, ranging from 1.1 per cent in Queensland, 3.2 per cent in Victoria and 2.5 per cent in New South Wales.
Reason to be confident: Bill Shorten and his wife Chloe voted at a polling station in Melbourne’s Moonee Ponds today. The Nine Network/Galaxy exit poll found Labor ahead of the Coalition 52 to 48 per cent on a two party preferred basis nationwide, as 16 million Australians cast their votes
A tight election result had been widely expected, worrying Labor and Coalition strategists with polls now closed in all parts of the nation except Western Australia.
The Coalition’s primary vote has sunk by three per cent, to 39 per cent, since the 2016 election, which former Liberal prime minister Malcolm Turnbull narrowly won.
EXIT POLLS SWINGS
NEW SOUTH WALES: 2.5 per cent
That could see Labor pick up the seats of Gilmore, Robertson, Banks and Page
VICTORIA: 3.2 per cent
That would see the Liberal Party lose the seat of Chisholm and La Trobe in Melbourne and fail to keep Dunkley and Corangamite, which are notionally Labor following redistributions
QUEENSLAND: 1.1 per cent
That would put the National Party seats of Capricornia and Flynn in danger and give Labor a strong chance of taking the Liberal-held seat of Forde
Labor’s first-preference vote has surged by the same margin to 38 per cent, giving it the edge with preferences from the Greens, who had 10 per cent support.
The major parties will need 76 seats to win a parliamentary majority in an expanded 151-seat House of Representatives with early counting showing uneven swings in key marginal seats.
The Nine exit poll of 3000 voters found that health and Medicare were the main issues that influenced their voting, followed by cost of living and climate change.
The Labor Opposition goes into the election notionally holding 72 seats, following redistributions, compared with 73 for the Coalition.
The projected swing would see the Coalition potentially lose 11 seats, including four in NSW and Victoria and three in Queensland.
However, early counting also showed the Labor Party losing the western Sydney seat of Lindsay, with an 11.5 per cent swing against it, and the Tasmanian seats of Bass and Braddon, with swings of five per cent in both electorates.
Immigration Minister David Coleman would potentially be in danger in his seat of Banks, in Sydney’s south-west, with the 2.5 per cent swing in NSW enough to wipe out his 1.5 per cent margin.
The Liberal Party would also lose the Central Coast seat of Robertston, north of Sydney, and the South Coast electorate of Gilmore, where it is running former Labor national president Warren Mundine.
A tight election result had been widely expected, worrying Labor and Coalition strategists with polls now closed in all parts of the nation except Western Australia (pictured is senator and former NSW Labor premier Kristina Keneally)
After casting his vote in Moonee Ponds, Victoria and awkwardly eating a democracy sausage, the Labor leader gave a short speech outlining his priorities for government
His Queensland Liberal National Party could lose Forde, in Brisbane’s south, along with Capricornia, centred around Rockhampton, and Flynn, which takes in Gladstone.
The exit poll came as Scott Morrison refused to say whether he will carry on as Liberal Leader should he lose the election.
The Prime Minister addressed the media after kissing his wife Jenny as they cast their ballots in his electorate of Cook, in southern Sydney.
Unlike his confident opponent Mr Shorten this morning, Mr Morrison shied away from predicting the result.
‘I make no assumptions about tonight,’ the Prime Minister said.
He then refused to comment on whether he would continue as Liberal leader as he stares down the barrel of defeat after serving just nine months as PM.
‘As I have said when this question has been put to me before, this election is not about my future. It is about your future. It is about the people of Australia’s future,’ Mr Morrison said.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison kissed his wife Jenny after the pair cast their votes at Lilli Pilli Public School in Cook, Sydney
Bill Shorten kisses a voter’s baby in Melbourne before hugging an elderly voter in the line to cast a ballot
‘It is about their aspirations, their ambitions. It is not about my aspirations or Bill Shorten’s ambition, it is about the Australian people’s aspiration and that is what I have focused on.’
Revealing that he voted for himself, he joked: ‘I think you can guess how I voted today because I hear the local member is pretty good.’
Mr Morrison thanked supporters and said he would not like to predict the result, adding: ‘I make no assumptions about tonight.
‘I respect this process. It is dear to my heart, the democracy of our country. I am making no presumptions. I don’t take anyone’s support in this country for granted.’
The election is being held just two days after the death of Labor’s longest-serving prime minister Bob Hawke, who won four elections in 1983, 1984, 1987 and 1990.
Mr Shorten cancelled last-minute campaigning in Brisbane to focus on remembering Mr Hawke at memorial events in Sydney.
The former Australian Workers Union leader this morning said he is so confident of winning the election that he is already planning what he would do on his first day in power.
He gave a short speech outlining his priorities, after casting his vote at Moonee Ponds, in his Melbourne electorate of Maribyrnong and awkwardly eating a democracy sausage.
Should the Opposition Leader prevail tonight, he would become Australia’s sixth prime minister since June 2013 – a sharp contrast to an era when Mr Hawke governed for almost nine years through several recessions and implemented far-reaching economic reforms with support from the union movement.
In less than six years, Australia has gone through Julia Gillard and Kevin Rudd from the Labor side, and Tony Abbott, Malcolm Turnbull and now Mr Morrison from the Liberal Party.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison, left, hugs his wife Jenny after casting his ballot in the federal election in Sydney
Since 2010, four of them have dumped by their own party, with Mr Shorten playing a pivotal role as a factional powerbroker in the dumping of two Labor PMs.
A victory for Mr Shorten tonight would also make him the first sitting Australian prime minister to have divorced and remarried and the 31st person to occupy the nation’s highest office.
His stepchildren Rupert, 17, and Georgette, 16, and his seven-year-old daughter Clementine will be the first blended family to live at The Lodge in Canberra and Kirribilli House on Sydney Harbour.
Should Mr Morrison remain as Liberal Party leader, he would be the first electorally defeated prime minister to take over as Opposition Leader since Gough Whitlam remained as Labor leader in December 1975, following the controversial November 11 Dismissal.
With less than nine months as PM, he is the shortest serving officeholder since Country Party leader John McEwen briefly served in that role in December 1967 and January 1968, following Harold Holt’s drowning.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison and wife Jenny are seen with the Liberal candidate for Braddon, Gavin Pearce (rear second right) and a voter with a young child
The Democracy Sausage has quickly become a staple at schools and church halls around the country during elections, and today’s federal election was gearing up to be the biggest snag day yet
With millions of voters flocking to polling booths from early on Saturday, some were left without a sausage in hand after they’d voted for their party of choice – but these voters in Brunswick had no shortage of sizzles
Standing alongside his popular wife Chloe, he declared that his first move would be to make a law raising pay for shift-workers at nights and weekends.
The 52-year-old said: ‘In the event that the people of Australia voted for action on climate change, we will be ready to hit the ground from tomorrow. We’ll be ready to start straight away and we will start straight away.
‘My first cabinet meeting, the first order of business, we will put a submission to the independent umpire to get the wages moving again for millions of our fellow Australians.
‘My first legislation will be to reverse the cuts to penalty rates.’
Mr Shorten also explained that tackling climate change is another priority, saying: ‘We will convene the parliament as soon as possible to start action on climate change.
A reporter asked Mr Shorten if he would quit politics if he lost the election.
‘Let’s hold the horses here,’ the leader replied. ‘I’m confident that Labor can win. Is Mr Morrison staying around? Have you asked him?’
Australian Opposition Leader Bill Shorten and his wife Chloe share a moment after casting their votes at Moonee Ponds West Primary school in Melbourne
Bill Shorten speaks to voters at a polling station after casting his vote in the Melbourne suburb of Moonee Ponds
Bill Shorten enjoys a sausage at a polling station after casting his vote in the Melbourne suburb of Moonee Ponds
Opposition Leader Bill Shorten waves goodbye after casting his vote at Moonee Ponds West Primary school
Bill Shorten drinks a coffee at Carnegie Primary School, in the seat of Higgins after arriving from Moonee Ponds
Polls suggest the opposition leader is on track to become prime minister and lead Labor to government for the first time since 2013. Pictured: People voting in the seat of Brunswick on Saturday, May 18, 2019
Mr Shorten and his wife Chloe met voters in long queues before casting their ballots on Saturday. Pictured: People enjoying a sausage before voting in the seat of Brunswick
A man in swim wear is pictured outside Bondi Surf Life Saving Club, in the seat of Wentworth, Sydney
Polls suggest the opposition leader is on track to become prime minister and lead Labor to government for the first time since 2013.
Mr Shorten and his wife Chloe met voters in long queues before casting their ballots on Saturday.
He chomped a sausage sandwich afterwards, partaking in one Australia’s great election day traditions.
‘Tastes like a mood for change,’ he said.
Mr Shorten kicked off his day in trademark fashion, with a morning run around Melbourne wearing a red t-shirt with ‘Vote 1 Chloe Shorten’s husband’.
He then switched outfits, donning a suit as he made a final pitch to voters on breakfast television.
The Labor leader is expected to spend the day on polling stations around the Victorian capital, considered a key battleground in the election.
People queue to cast their votes at Moonee Ponds West Primary school during Election Day in Melbourne
Opposition Labor leader Bill Shorten speaks to voters at a polling station after casting his vote in the Melbourne suburb of Moonee Ponds during Australia’s general election
Voters at the Bondi Surf Life Saving Club, in the seat of Wentworth, with a tight battle between incumbent Prime Minister Scott Morrison of the Coalition party and Labor Leader, Bill Shorten
People vote at Burleigh Heads RSL Hall on the Gold Coast, Queensland as the federal election enters its final day
An anti-Abbott and anti-church campaigner outside a polling booth at Queenscliff Surf Life Saving Club in the seat of Warringah
Surfers walk past political posters at a polling booth at Queenscliff in the set of Warringah on Election Day in Sydney
A woman casts her vote while still in a wetsuit at the Bondi Surf Life Saving Club, in the seat of Wentworth
Voters at the Bondi Surf Life Saving Club, in the seat of Wentworth in the eastern suburbs of Sydney on election day
Meanwhile, Prime Minister Scott Morrison is keeping the faith as he stares down a likely election defeat.
All signs suggest the coalition will be sent packing after a narrow Labor win on Saturday night.
‘I think it will be a long night. I’ve always said this election will be close,’ Mr Morrison told Sunrise on Network Seven.
‘Five weeks ago people weren’t saying that, but I’ve always known it to be the case.’
The final Newspoll of the campaign shows Labor edging ahead of the coalition by 51.5 to 48.5 per cent on a two-party preferred basis.
But both sides believe battles in 20 key marginal seats across the country will decide the result.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison talks to locals at Ulverstone Secondary College, 20 km west of Devonport
Prime Minister Scott Morrison arrives at Ulverstone Secondary College, 20km west of Devonport, Tasmania on election day
A ‘Kater Australia Party’ volunteer is seen at the Belgian Gardens State School on May 18, 2019 in Townsville
The Greens voters are seen as Bill Shorten visits Carnegie Primary School, in the seat of Higgins, Melbourne
Australian Federal Member for Dickson Peter Dutton poses for a photo with supporters outside a voting station at Pine Rivers State High School on Election Day in Brisbane
A man walks with his surfboard outside a polling station at Freshwater Surf Lifesaving Club on May 18, 2019 in Sydney, Australia
Mr Morrison spent his election morning in Tasmania where the Coalition was trying to soak up every vote possible to take the marginal seats of Bass and Braddon from Labor.
He then flew to Sydney to cast his own vote in the Sutherland Shire, before campaigning with other MPs in marginal electorates across the city.
The Prime Minister has presented this election as a presidential-style race between himself and Mr Shorten.
Voters will now deliver their verdict on whether his frenetic five-week campaign has been enough to secure the coalition a third term in power.
Mr Morrison spent the final full day of his campaign targeting a clutch of key seats throughout Queensland and NSW.
The Liberals are expecting reasonable results in both of the states, with Victoria and Western Australia firming up as the crucial battlegrounds.
Members of the public stand in line to vote at Neutral Bay Public School on May 18, 2019 in Sydney, Australia
Scott Morrison with the Liberal candidate for Braddon, Gavin Pearce (left) at Ulverstone Secondary College
Scott Morrison with Tasmania Premier Will Hodgman (left) at Ulverstone Secondary College before he flew to Sydney
Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison was at the Ulverstone Secondary College during Election Day in Ulverstone, Tasmania