Scott Morrison will remain as Prime Minister after an extraordinary night saw the Coalition claim an unexpected election win.
In a result which opinion polls and betting markets failed to predict, the Liberal and the National parties recorded strong swings to them – particularly in Queensland – granting them a possible slim majority or a minority with the support of independents.
The result was called shortly after 9.30pm AEST – as results began to be called in Western Australia.
Labor struggled to pick up enough seats even in Melbourne, in its strongest state Victoria, and has lost electorates in Brisbane, north Queensland, western Sydney and Tasmania.
ABC election analyst Antony Green said Labor had little hope of even forming a minority government, with Labor failing to pick up any marginal seats in Perth.
In a result which opinion polls and betting markets failed to predict, the Liberal and the National parties recorded strong swings to them – particularly in Queensland – granting them a possible slim majority or a minority with the support of independents (pictured is Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton who had a swing to him in his Brisbane seat of Dickson)
Scott Morrison will remain as Prime Minister after an extraordinary night saw the Coalition claim an unexpected election win (pictured are distraught Labor Party supporters in Melbourne’s Hyatt Palace)
Former Liberal prime minister John Howard, who won that election, said voters had rejected Labor’s ‘politics of class division’
‘At this stage, we think the Morrison Government has been re-elected. We can’t see an alternative to a Morrison Government in the numbers we’re seeing at the moment,’ he said.
‘We can’t say whether the Government will be in a majority or minority, but we’re certainly seeing enough numbers to say that the Coalition will end up with more seats than Labor.’
Mr Green said the result was a ‘spectacular failure of opinion polls’ with the upset representing the first occasion since 2004 that a federal government has enjoyed a swing towards it.
Former Liberal prime minister John Howard, who won that election, said voters had rejected Labor’s ‘politics of class division’.
‘I did believe very strongly Bill Shorten had overplayed his hand on the class warfare,’ he said.
‘Australians believe in egalitarianism.’
Zali Steggall (pictured), a Winter Olympic skiing medalist, has romped home on Sydney’s northern beaches in a contest fought over climate change action, ending former prime minister Tony Abbott’s 25-year political career
Ironically, the Coalition had not won a Newspoll since 2016 and Labor had won 55 consecutive Newspolls going into the election.
This included a period which saw Malcolm Turnbull replaced in August as prime minister after the Liberal Party’s right-faction revolted against his energy policy.
Labor, so far, appears to have only gained the NSW South Coast seat of Gilmore, where the Liberal Party was running former Labor national president Warren Mundine, and possibly Chisholm in Melbourne’s south-east where sitting member Julia Banks had quit the Liberal Party to sit as an independent.
Longman, in northern Brisbane, appears lost with sitting Labor member Susan Lamb suffering a 4.2 per cent swing against her.
Herbert, which Labor’s Cathy O’Toole won by just 37 votes in 2016, has been turfed out of this Townsville-based electorate in north Queensland with a swing against her of 6.7 per cent.
It has also lost Lindsay, in western Sydney, suffering a swing against it of 4.2 per cent. Labor disendorsed Emma Husar after her staff made bullying allegations.
Bass in northern Tasmania is also out of its grasp, with the Liberal securing a 6.7 per cent to it.
Braddon, in Tasmania’s west, has also thrown out Labor, which saw a 5.6 per cent swing against it.
It has an outside chance of winning Boothby, in Adelaide’s south, with a swing of 3.2 per cent towards it – in a seat the Liberal Party has held since 1949.
Mr Shorten’s big-target strategy 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.
Having now lost two elections, he will most likely to be replaced as Labor leader, six years after he beat left-faction contender Anthony Albanese, even though his opponent had more support from party members in a postal ballot.
‘Tonight is an outcome that is disappointing,’ Mr Albanese told his supporters in Sydney’s inner-west.
‘We seek to form government to change the country and we shouldn’t be shy about that.
‘We have had a redistributive agenda in order to fund schools, hospitals and public transport.’
Outlining a possible new tilt for the leadership, Mr Albanese declared he had never put himself before the party, arguing a Labor government was needed to address ‘economic power, political power and social power’ to ‘stand up for the interests of working-class people’.
His Sydney-based deputy Tanya Plibersek is another possible leadership contender and blamed preferences from One Nation and mining magnate Clive Palmer’s United Australia Party for the poor result in Queensland.
‘It’s not the result we’d hoped for in Queensland,’ she told the ABC.
Mr Howard likened Labor’s loss to the 1993 ‘unloseable’ election when Liberal leader John Hewson was defeated, campaigning for a 15 per cent GST.
‘There was a whiff of 1993 about the last couple of weeks,’ he told the ABC.
Tony Abbott (pictured with sister-in-law Virginia Flitcroft) also declared Scottr 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
Liberal 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
‘One side had been ahead in the polls but the other had gained ground during the campaign.’
On the NSW Central Coast, which had a high number of retirees, the Liberal Party recorded a 4.3 per cent swing to it, boosting sitting member Lucy Wicks’ margin to 5.5 per cent.
The Liberal Party, however, has been punished in one of Sydney’s wealthiest electorates.
Former prime minister Tony Abbott became the first major casualty of an surprising general election, 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.’
In a result which opinion polls and betting markets failed to predict, the Liberal and the National parties recorded strong swings to them – particularly in Queensland – granting them a possible slim majority or a minority with the support of independents (pictured is a Liberal Party supporter at Sydney’s Sofitel-Wentworth Hotel)
Mr Shorten’s big-target strategy 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 (pictured are Labor supporters in Melbourne)
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.
Former Nationals deputy prime minister Barnaby Joyce slammed GetUp! and left-wing activists for targeting Mr Abbott, as the Coalition recorded strong swings to it in Brisbane’s outer suburbs and regional Queensland.
‘You went after Tony you clowns … and forgot about everyone else,’ he told the ABC.
In Queensland, the Labor Party suffered a 4.4 per cent against it, making it the Opposition’s worst state.
Conceding defeat, Mr Abbott said: ‘I’d rather be a loser than a quitter’ as he addressed supporters at Manly Leagues Club in Brookvale on Sydney’s northern beaches
Liberal 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.
He described his win as ‘the sweetest victory of all ‘ – quoting former Labor prime minister Paul Keating’s victory speech in 1993, when won the ‘unloseable’ election.
The Sunshine State was bad for Labor, which was on course to lose neighbouring Longman, in Brisbane’s north, with a 4.1 per cent swing to the Liberal National Party.
Herbert, which Labor’s Cathy O’Toole won by 37 votes in 2016, was lost, with a seven per cent swing to the LNP.
The Liberal National Party is also recording strong swings to it in its marginal seats of Capricornia, Dawson, Petrie and Forde.
Liberal Immigration Minister David Coleman has retained the south-west Sydney seat of Banks with a 4.3 per cent swing towards him, boosting his margin to 5.8 per cent in a seat that Labor had held from 1949 to 2013 (pictured is a supporter of his at Sydney’s Sofitel-Wentworth Hotel)
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, where the Liberal Party was marginally ahead on Saturday night.
Liberal Immigration Minister David Coleman has retained the south-west Sydney seat of Banks with a 4.3 per cent swing towards him, boosting his margin to 5.8 per cent in a seat that Labor had held from 1949 to 2013.
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
The exit poll, since proven wrong, had the Coalition’s primary vote sinking by three per cent, to 39 per cent, since the 2016 election, which former Liberal prime minister Malcolm Turnbull narrowly won.
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 went into the election notionally holding 72 seats, following redistributions, compared with 73 for the Coalition.
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 had showed 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.
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