Jubilant PM celebrates 'miracle' election win

 

A jubilant Scott Morrison started his victory speech by thanking Bill Shorten for his gracious concession.

"I thank him very much for his kind remarks to me and Jenny and our family, and I would like to wish him and Chloe and his family all the best, and God's blessing," Mr Morrison said.

The Prime Minister was joined on stage by his wife Jenny and two daughters, Abbey and Lily.

"I have always believed in miracles! I'm standing with the three biggest miracles in my life here tonight. And tonight we've been delivered another one," he told the crowd.

"How good is Australia? How good are Australians? This is the best country in the world."

Mr Morrison said the night was not about him, or even the Liberal Party, but "every single Australian who depends on their government to put them first".

He thanked a long list of candidates - both those who had won, and those who had lost, starting with Tony Abbott.

When he praised Queensland, which played such an instrumental role in his victory, the crowd erupted into chants of 

"Queensland! Queensland!".

"I never thought I'd hear that in this room in New South Wales, this close to Origin," the Prime Minister joked.

Later, he turned to his family.

"My parents and my brother Allan, and his wife Suzie. My mother-in-law Beth is here," he said.

"But to the dearest of my family who are with me here tonight, to my beautiful miracle girls Abbey and Lily, thank you. And to the woman I fell in love with in my teens, and it's never let up, and now Australia has fallen in love with her."

It was back to business for the conclusion of the speech. Mr Morrison told his supporters they had "a lot of work to do".

"We're going to get back to work for the Australians that we know go to work every day, who face those struggles and trials every day. They're looking for a fair go and they're having a go, and they're going to get a go from our government."

Jenny Morrison: 'Bring it on, Australia'

Sam Clench
Channel 9's Ben Fordham spoke to a few members of Scott Morrison's family after the speech, including the Prime Minister himself.

He started with Mr Morrison's mother Marion.

"I'm flying. I really am. It is just amazing. I'm lost for words Ben, I really am. I don't know whether to laugh or cry or what. But I think it will hit me tomorrow," she said.

"How nervous were you?" Fordham asked.

"I wasn't nervous because I know what Scott can do and I'd seen him do lots of things in my time," she said.

Mr Morrison himself was next up. Fordham asked what it meant to him to have his mum and dad there.

"It couldn't be more special. You see, dad's not as spritely as he used to be, but he's pretty pumped up tonight. He's pretty happy," the Prime Minister said.

"Is this better than the Cronulla Sharks winning the premiership?" Fordham asked.

"Yes it is! But I still want to see them beat the Sea Eagles tomorrow," he replied with a laugh, before stressing it would be back to business for him straight away.

"The work starts again tomorrow. You know me, I put my head down and off we go."

Lastly, Fordham chatted to Jenny Morrison about how proud she was of her husband.

"I am so incredibly proud of Scott. He is amazing. He has brought it back from such a, like, no one thought he could do that. And I know he's an amazing individual, and he is just so capable. So bring it on Australia. We're here to serve you," she said.

"The nicest thing was that during the campaign I got to spend a whole lot more time with Scott. He's usually away all the time. So it's been really good! I've loved it."

"Have you had a champagne yet?" Fordham asked.

"I had a little drink, yes I did," Mrs Morrison said.

"Go and have three more," he said.

"I absolutely will," she replied.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison and his wife Jenny, on the grounds of The Prime Ministers Lodge in Canberra. Picture: Alex Coppel.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison and his wife Jenny, on the grounds of The Prime Ministers Lodge in Canberra. Picture: Alex Coppel.

Bill Shorten to stand down

Bill Shorten has conceded defeat and called on Labor's supporters to respect the election result, revealing he will stand down as leader of the party in the wake of its defeat.

"I know that you're all hurting. And I am too," he told supporters in Melbourne just after 11:30pm.

"It is obvious that Labor will not be able to form the next government. And so, in the national interest, a short time ago I called Scott Morrison to congratulate him.

"I wish Jenny and their daughters all the very best, and above all, I wish Scott Morrison good fortune and good courage in the service of our great nation.

"Now that the contest is over, all of us have a responsibility to respect the result, respect the wishes of the Australian people and to bring our nation together.

"However, that task will be one for the next leader of the Labor Party, because while I intend to continue to serve as the member for Maribyrnong, I will not be a candidate in the next leadership ballot."

Bill Shorten concedes defeat, watched on by his wife Chloe.
Bill Shorten concedes defeat, watched on by his wife Chloe.

Sky News' political editor David Speers reports Anthony Albanese will be a candidate for the leadership.

Analysis: Labor breaks down in humiliating fashion

Political editor Malcolm Farr;s snap analysis of the election result:

Labor's grand procession to government has broken down in humiliating fashion.

There is a lot of counting to come - the massive pre-poll will be significant to the result - but the punter who put $1 million on a Labor win is must be ripping up the ticket.

Bill Shorten's attempt to parlay six years of Labor unity and preparation into a victory formula has failed, with Queensland bringing it undone.

Scott Morrison has established himself as a fierce political street brawler who surprised Labor with his energy, his aggression, and his read of the electorate.

He will be returned as Prime Minister with a substantial crossbench to contend with and their contrary views to accommodate.

But Australians hoping for stability might now have to endure a minority government, or one otherwise held to ransom by a sizable crossbench with conflicting priorities.

"I will be a climate leader for you," said the new member for Warringah, independent Zali Steggall, effectively putting the incoming government on notice.

There is a longer-term issue involved in this national outcome.

The rebuff to Labor amounts to a warning for all parties and politicians not to enter an election with a detailed policy package announced well in advance.

The political atmosphere here and in other democracies favors simplistic certainties, not bold change and vision.

As Liberal John Hewson found in 1993, Labor's Bill Shorten has learned in 2019 - being a reformer  exposes you to misrepresentation by an opponent unencumbered by fresh direction.

Further, the assurances from nine months of opinion polls that Mr Shorten would be elevated to the prime ministership now look less gold plated than we were told week after week.

The Liberals lost seats and the most emotional failure was Tony Abbott in Warringah, a seat where he defied the wishes of voters for much of his 25 years as an MP.

Despair among beaten Labor supporters

Charis Chang
There were cries of "f***" and "s***" as it was announced the Coalition had been returned to government.

Isolated boos were heard among the subdued crowd at Labor's party as the result was announced and many seemed stunned by the news.

"I'm devastated," 72-year-old supporter Liz Morgan told news.com.au.

"I was hopeful, this is probably my last chance to see Labor in power."

Mrs Morgan refused to watch as Liberal MP Peter Dutton appeared on screen, addressing his victory party.

"I'm not going to watch that man," she said, turning her back. "That man is horrible."

Mrs Morgan said she really didn't know why Labor had lost.

"Our policies were pretty brave and wanted to help people," she said.

"It's very disappointing because it means people don't really care about other people, only themselves."

Clive Palmer takes credit

Shannon Molloy
Clive Palmer has taken some credit for the Coalition's stunning election victory, in a reference to the preference deal the United Australia Party struck with the Liberals.

The mining magnate has released a statement saying that the UAP's four per cent primary result "significantly helped" Scott Morrison.

"The goal for the United Australia Party was to ensure the Labor Government did not get into power, introducing more than $1 trillion of new taxes," Mr Palmer said.

"This has been achieved with the collective effort from the United Australia Party."

Liberals a 'winning machine'

Two exuberant young Liberal supporters were heard chanting at Coalition HQ about how the Liberals are "an election winning machine".

"Labor used to be party for the workers, now it's a party for people who don't work," one said.

"Labor is no longer the party of Bob Hawke, it's the party of Bob Brown," his mate added.

The pair, who volunteered at polling booths in Parramatta in western Sydney today, said there had been early signs the mood was shifting against the ALP.

"Parramatta is Labor heartland, but it was them getting heckled by voters," one of the men claimed, adding that he had overheard voters complaining to ALP volunteers about the party's policies on franking credits and climate change.

The room is growing ever more boisterous and celebratory.

Labor can't win election

By Sam Clench

Our election experts say there will be no clear government tonight, and Labor is extremely unlikely to win. It certainly will not be able to form a majority.

Early figures from Western Australia, whose seats are now crucial, are showing a swing towards the government.

Channel 10's political editor Peter van Onselen agrees with that assessment.

He says there is a "95 per cent" certainty the Coalition will win the election with either a minority or majority government.

"The only way I can't see a Coalition victory in this election is if they get minority status and then the kind of individuals who are holding safe Liberal seats do what Oakeshott and Windsor did in 2010," van Onselen said.

"I don't see that happening with the nature of what they've said pre-the election."

In 2010, Rob Oakeshott and Tony Windsor decided to support a Labor minority government even though their seats were traditionally quite conservative.

"I'm not sure I can find enough seats for the Labor Party to be close enough to cobble together the kind of minority government that is feasible," van Onselen said.

"They're going to be significantly below the Coalition.

"There's every chance that the Coalition actually gets to a majority. I'm not predicting that. But there's very few pathways to victory for Labor now."

 

Liberal supporters' confidence surges

By Sam Clench

Here's another update from Alexis Carey, who is at the Liberal Party event.

Two exuberant young Liberal supporters were heard chanting at Coalition HQ about how the Liberals are "an election winning machine".

"Labor used to be party for the workers, now it's a party for people who don't work," one said.

"Labor is no longer the party of Bob Hawke, it's the party of Bob Brown," his mate added.

The pair, who volunteered at polling booths in Parramatta in western Sydney today, said there had been early signs the mood was shifting against the ALP.

"Parramatta is Labor heartland, but it was them getting heckled by voters," one of the men claimed, adding that he had overheard voters complaining to ALP volunteers about the party's policies on franking credits and climate change.

The room is growing ever more boisterous and celebratory.

 

Liberals take back Turnbull's seat

By Sam Clench

The Wentworth by-election result has been reversed, with Liberal Dave Sharma reclaiming the old seat of Malcolm Turnbull from the woman who defeated him in October, Dr Kerryn Phelps.

Results are starting to flow in from the west as well.

Labor's Anny Aly has held on in the West Australian seat of Cowan while Patrick Gorman has also retained the seat of Perth.

The Liberal Party was won Swan, with Steve Irons being re-elected.

And Attorney-General Christian Porter has won his tough race in Pearce. Fellow minister Ken Wyatt has held on in Hasluck.

Labor has gained Chisolm in Victoria. That's the seat former Liberal Julia Banks held, before deciding to contest Flinders instead. Health Minister Greg Hunt defeated her there.

The Nationals have held Cowper, fending off Rob Oakeshott.

And Liberal MP Lucy Wicks has retained Robertson.

 

Shock result looms as election turned on its head

By Sam Clench and Shannon Molloy

The mood in the Liberal campaign has shifted dramatically over the past hour.

A Coalition source tells news.com.au that the swings to the Coalition in Queensland have changed the landscape significantly.

There's now a growing confidence that Scott Morrison's government can hold on. It's a result that seemed unthinkable just a few hours ago when polls closed on the east coast.

ABC political commentator Barrie Cassidy says a Liberal minority government is now a real possibility.

Unless pre-poll votes swing it back Labor's way, Cassidy believes the Opposition will struggle to reach the number of seats required to form government.

"More likely (a) Coalition minority or even at a pinch, majority," he said.

Here's a quick runthrough of the key seats we've called recently.

Corangamite has fallen to Labor. Liberal Sarah Henderson was dealing with the smallest margin in the country.

The Liberals have taken Lindsay, the seat held by Labor's Emma Husar.

Treasurer Josh Frydenberg has seen off the challenge of Julian Burnside in Kooyong.

Liberal Fiona Martin has retained the hotly contested seat Reid.

The Liberal National Party's Michelle Landry has retained Capricornia in Queensland.

Ms Landry in particular is performing really strongly, with a current projected swing of 12 per cent towards the LNP.

That's not the kind of outcome anyone was expected. Not least Ms Landry.

"We have worked extremely hard and obviously Adani and coal has played a big part in that and Labor are really hemorrhaging votes to One Nation," Ms Landry said.

 

Jubilant Zali Steggall claims victory

By Shannon Molloy

Zali Steggall has addressed her supporters after toppling political veteran Tony Abbott in Warringah.

The former Olympian and barrister turned independent candidate struggled to be heard over the crowd chanting her name, opening her speech by simply saying "what a day".

"Tonight, Warringah has definitely voted for the future," Ms Steggall said.

"And you all showed that when communities want change, they make it happen.

"This is a win for moderates with a heart."

She paid tribute to Mr Abbott for his long service to the electorate, saying that "nobody can doubt his community spirit, his work ethic and his contribution to this community".

Ms Steggall spoke of her commitment to action on climate change, pledging to be a leader on the issue when she gets to Canberra.

"Warringah, we have a new beginning for our environment. I will keep the new government to account."

Her momentous victory is also an opportunity for a "new beginning in Australian politics", Ms Steggall said.

 

'It's bad everywhere': Labor despairs

By Shannon Molloy

The swing against Labor in Queensland is devastating.

ABC election analyst Antony Green expected the Opposition to do well in the state's southeast and perform poorly in the regions.

"In fact, it seems it's bad everywhere in Queensland at this stage," Green says.

The Australian columnist Troy Bramston says Labor figures are "stunned and shocked" at the result currently unfolding, which pretty much nobody expected.

"It looks like a diabolical night for the party," Bramston said.

 

Lambie on track for political revival

By Shannon Molloy

One of the last parliament's more colourful characters, Jacqui Lambie, is on track for a return to politics.

Ms Lambie, who was elected as a member of Clive Palmer's old party but became an independent, was forced to quit the Senate last year in the midst of the Section 44 dual citizenship saga.

The count is in its early stages, with just 7.6 per cent sorted, but the Australian Electoral Commission projects a likely win for her.

 

Tony Abbott's optimistic concession speech

Shannon Molloy

Tony Abbott has delivered a concession speech in his Sydney seat of Warringah after his devastating defeat to independent Zali Steggall.

"We've got good news and yes, we've got a little bit of bad news," Mr Abbott told supporters.

"The good news is that there's every chance the Liberal-National Coalition has won this election."

He admitted it was a disappointing result for him, but that "what matters is what's best for the country".

Mr Abbott said the party could be "more confident than we ever had any right to expect" that the Coalition will continue to govern".

The result of the Wentworth by-election last year gave Mr Abbott an indication that his race was going to be a tough one.

"I always knew it was going to be tough here in Warringah. I can't say it doesn't hurt to lose… but so be it. I'd rather be a loser than a quitter."

He congratulated Ms Steggall on a "magnificent win", which drew boos from his supporters.

 

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Forde Herbert Petrie Capricornia Dickson Dawson Flynn

 

Barnaby Joyce emerges victorious

By Shannon Molloy

Former Nationals leader and deputy prime minister Barnaby Joyce has comfortably won another term in his seat of New England.

"It's not me who won my seat, it's my team who won me the seat," Mr Joyce said. "The killer canaries did it again."

That's a reference to the bright yellow t-shirts his campaign volunteers wear.

Preferences from Pauline Hanson's One Nation and Clive Palmer's United Australia Party have helped Mr Joyce, helping to increase the swing towards him.

Mr Joyce took a swipe at the Opposition for their poor showing, particularly in regional areas like his.

"(Labor) have abandoned Barcaldine and the Tree of Knowledge, they've wandered down and got themselves a kaftan and incense sticks, hanging around in the middle of Sydney," he said

 

Several Queensland seats have already been called

- Bob Katter retains his seat of Kennedy

- David Littleproud (LNP) retains Maranoa

- George Christensen (LNP) retains Dawson

- Michelle Landry (LNP) retains Capricornia

- Keith Pitt (LNP) retains Hinkler

- Llew O'Brien (LNP) retains Wide Bay

- Scott Buchholz (LNP) retains Wright

- Ted O'Brien (LNP) retains Fairfax

- Andrew Wallace (LNP) retains Fisher

- John McVeigh (LNP) retains Groom

- Stuart Robert (LNP) retains Fadden

- Bert Van Manen (LNP) retains Forde

 

Egg boy at Labor function

By Shannon Molloy and Charis Chang

Egg Boy is at Labor's election night function in Melbourne, for some reason.

Will Connolly is the 17-year-old who smashed an egg on the back of Senator Fraser Anning's head the day after the Christchurch massacre.

Senator Anning put out a media released just after 51 people were shot to death in two mosques, blaming Muslim immigration for the terror attacks.

Mr Connolly was incensed and took himself to Senator Anning's media conference, filming himself as he cracked the egg on his head.

He was struck twice by the right-wing politician and then tackled to the ground by a group of his supporters.

It's not clear why the teenager is at the function but our reporter Charis Chang says he's being accompanied by a minder who's not allowing him to speak to journalists.

 

Election victory claimed in the seat of Page

By  Aisling Bennan and Adam Hourigan 

In the Northern Rivers area of NSW, near Lismore the Nationals have claimed victory.

Page MP Kevin Hogan addressed his supporters just after 8pm.

"I have just been called by Patrick Deegan and he has conceded the seat of Page," he said.

The news was much with a loud cheer and Mr Hogan hugged his family.

 

Tony Abbott will lose seat, Coalition clinging on

Sky News and news.com.au is calling Warringah for Zali Steggall, meaning former Liberal PM Tony Abbott has lost his seat.

After 25 years, Mr Abbott has been turfed out by voters in the Sydney seat.

With 18.5 per cent of the vote counted, Ms Steggall has achieved a 62.3 per cent result on a two-party preferred basis.

Earlier, Mr Abbott was way behind his rival as early results and exit polls show Labor is on track for victory. The countdown now begins to find out if Scott Morrison or Bill Shorten will be the next Prime Minister.

The exit polls for Nine and Ten say Labor are heading for a win. The polls showed a 52-48 national vote for Labor, suggesting a four-seat majority Labor Government on 80 seats.

The nation is now just hours away from knowing whether Scott Morrison or Bill Shorten will be the next prime minister.

Scrutineers are now counting after an election day marred with dirty tactics and bizarre incidents.

 

Zali Steggall joins supporters at the Novotel Sydney Manly Pacific. Picture: Lisa Maree Williams
Zali Steggall joins supporters at the Novotel Sydney Manly Pacific. Picture: Lisa Maree Williams

A volunteer for Tony Abbott was stabbed with a corkscrew in Warringah, trolls vandalised a Labor candidate's signs with anti-Islamic graffiti in Melbourne, and anti-Adani protesters targeted both leaders.rten was "confident" of a Labor victory tonight, but Mr Morrison said he was making no assumptions about the outcome. Labor led the Coalition 51.5 per cent to 48.5 per cent in a final Newspoll this morning but a number of seats - including those of key political figures Peter Dutton and Tony Abbott - will go down to the wire.

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Warringah

And with a record 4.76 million pre-poll votes cast early, the outcome may not be known tonight.

One Nation leader Pauline Hanson hasn't been spotted today, defying tradition for political hopefuls to show up at polling booths to press the flesh a final time.

Senator Hanson posted a Facebook message early this morning thanking her volunteers and encouraging voters to back One Nation.

But the firebrand right-wing figure made no public appearances.

It comes as support for One Nation has plunged, according to polling - almost halving over the course of the election campaign amid ongoing scandals and candidate controversies.

 

Julie Bishop's interesting outfit choice

By Stephanie Bedo

Let's lighten things up for a moment and talk about some fashion.

Julie Bishop is often praised for her style. Her black outfit choice for this evening is a far cry from the sparkly blue number she wore for the federal Budget.

RELATED: Julie Bishop steals the show at Budget

Last month she told Today Extra hosts Richard Wilkins and Sonia Kruger she would be putting a bit of thought into what she wore for Nine's coverage.

"As soon as the Prime Minister calls the election, I'll go straight to the wardrobe and find something highly appropriate," she said.

But the black choice didn't go down as well with tonight's Nine hosts.

"You're wearing black - for a wake? Is it going to be a victory?" she was asked.

"It means we are 'Back in Black'. This is about being back in surplus," she responded coyly.

 

Election not unfolding as expected

By Shannon Molloy

Well, this is all very surprising.

Labor was meant to romp home with a convincing win, but many of the cards aren't falling as polls suggested they would.

ABC election analyst Antony Green says votes from Western Australia, where polls have just closed, will be crucial.

"We're not seeing Labor waltzing into office," Green says.

"On these numbers, if the LNP does pick up seats in Queensland, then Labor needs to pick up seats in WA."

It's all very interesting.

 

Senior Liberal lashes out at GetUp!

By Shannon Molloy

Following the bombshell that former Prime Minister Tony Abbott is on track to lose his seat, Liberal Senator Arthur Sinodinos has hit out angrily at the activist group which worked to unseat him.

Speaking on the ABC, he said that left-wing activist group GetUp! had reached the peak of its credibility and added that "it's downhill from here".

"The campaign they ran in Kooyong where they accused Josh Frydenberg of being part of the coup against Malcolm Turnbull, blatantly wrong but they continued to peddle that along," he said.

"The stuff against Abbott with the budgie smuggler ad and all the rest of it, people are awake to the fact it is not an issue-based organisation, it is a partisan organisation because it doesn't seem to target anybody except for a certain clump of people whose views they don't like."

However, Labor's Penny Wong hit back, saying Mr Abbott is suffering because his electorate simply agree with his views.

"What always interests me about this discussion is the Coalition or the Liberals in particular have this conspiracy theory about GetUp, which I don't think is justified and we can have a longer discussion about that if we want, but they divert into that discussion to not actually deal with the core issue, which is the electorate has moved from the views that Tony Abbott and others like him held.

"That's the fundamental issue. You can talk as much as you want about GetUp or as much as you want about these particular issues but the fundamental philosophical point or electoral point is people aren't where he was."

 

Bishop reacts to Abbott's defeat

By Shannon Molloy

Former Foreign Minister Julie Bishop has weighed in on the extraordinary defeat of Tony Abbott in the Sydney seat of Warringah.

Ms Bishop said that Mr Abbott had lost touch with the mood of his community on key issues, costing him his job.

"You have to be aligned to the thoughts and aspirations and hopes and dreams of your electorate in major issues and on two of them - same sex marriage and climate change - Tony was not on the same page," Ms Bishop said on Channel 9.

Ms Bishop was, of course, Mr Abbott's deputy leader when he led the Liberal Party.

 

Hakeem casts first ever vote

By Shannon Molloy

If you're after something more heartwarming, consider this - refugee footballer Hakeem Al-Araibi got to cast his first ever vote today.

 

Dutton challenge did hurt Liberals

By Shannon Molloy

Michael Kroger admits last year's shambolic leadership challenge by Peter Dutton has hurt the party in Victoria.

The former Liberal state president was on Sky News earlier and responded to early counting on the seat of Kooyong showing a four per cent swing against Treasurer Josh Frydenberg.

"I think he'll be fine," Mr Kroger said. "There is tension in the air here in Victoria, because of us not doing well here, the leadership change didn't go down well here as everybody knows."

Kooyong has been a key focus for left-wing activist group GetUp! by supporting independent candidate Oliver Yates.

Prominent human rights lawyer Julian Burnside is also having a crack for the Greens in the Melbourne electorate.

 

Labor supporters cheer Abbott's defeat

By Sam Clench

They're pretty happy about it.

 

Dutton challenge did hurt Liberals

By Shannon Molloy

Michael Kroger admits last year's shambolic leadership challenge by Peter Dutton has hurt the party in Victoria.

The former Liberal state president was on Sky News earlier and responded to early counting on the seat of Kooyong showing a four per cent swing against Treasurer Josh Frydenberg.

"I think he'll be fine," Mr Kroger said. "There is tension in the air here in Victoria, because of us not doing well here, the leadership change didn't go down well here as everybody knows."

Kooyong has been a key focus for left-wing activist group GetUp! by supporting independent candidate Oliver Yates.

Prominent human rights lawyer Julian Burnside is also having a crack for the Greens in the Melbourne electorate.

 

Christensen off to strong start in early votes

GEORGE Christensen is only a few votes away from reaching 10,000 votes.

Labor candidate Belinda Hassan is still let to reach 5000.

Colin Thompson is gaining on his counterparts, with more than 1000 votes counted. He is ahead of Greens candidate Imogen Lindenberg.

More on that here

Strict rules at Tony Abbott's event

By Shannon Molloy

Tony Abbott is holding a very private event in his Sydney electorate of Warringah tonight.

Media aren't allowed inside, but approved journalists and one camera operator will be permitted to film his speech later on, before being booted again.

The former Prime Minister is facing a fierce challenge from independent Zali Steggall, in what has been one of the closest watched races in the campaign.

 

Bishop Could have helped Libs

By Justin Lees

Former foreign minister and deputy leader of the party Julie Bishop would have given the Libs a better chance of victory than Scott Morrison, according to Nine's exit poll.

The high-profile ex-politician, who stepped down last year, was named ahead of Mr Morrison, then ex-PM Malcolm Turnbull and Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton in that order.

Ms Bishop - a guest commentator on Nine's election coverage - kept a poker face as the cameras panned in on her while the result was read, sparking some banter on social media.

"We'll never know," she quipped. 

 

Internal polling suggests 'comfortable' Labor victory

By Sam Clench

ABC political commentator Barrie Cassidy says internal polling from both camps points to Labor "pretty comfortably" reaching the magic number of 76 - the seats it needs to win to form government.

In fact, his forecast is for Labor to pick up more than 80 seats, with about a dozen Liberal electorates likely to be in play.

Cassidy says the mood in the Labor campaign is optimistic, while the Liberal Party is hopeful but perhaps preparing for the worst.

Here we go: First polls have closed

By Sam Clench

Polls have closed across the east coast, which means votes are now being counted.

We already mentioned the Galaxy exit poll showing a national swing of 2.4 per cent towards Labor - easily enough to win.

Now Channel 10's exit poll analysis is also showing promising signs for Bill Shorten. It predicts a 52-48 vote in Labor's favour, which would potentially result in a four-seat majority.

Stay tuned for the official numbers.

 

'Come on': Bishop's sassy comeback

By Sam Clench

"Julie Bishop, do you think maybe that your party would have been a better chance with you as leader, to have won the election?" she was asked.

"Well we will never know, as I'm not in this campaign," she replied.

"While that is a very interesting figure, the leadership of the Liberal Party was determined last August. I put my hand forward, but the party chose Scott Morrison. We cannot criticise the work Scott Morrison has done in this campaign. He has been unrelenting and very energetic."

Ms Bishop said she had contributed to the campaign by doing fundraising behind the scenes and some robo-calls.

 

"I know they annoy people, but they are necessary," she said.

"I did the fundraising for my campaign in Curtin. But the question of the leadership of the Liberal Party was determined last August."

"Determined again and again!" interjected Labor's Tanya Plibersek.

"Come on, I don't want to have to go back to the Rudd-Gillard-Rudd years," Ms Bishop shot back.

Channel 9 has replaced the graphic it used to "boot" losing candidates out with a red stiletto in honour of Ms Bishop's appearance on its election night panel.

"I remember that pair of shoes very well. It is my functional work boot. A little more stylish than some work boots, but nevertheless, the ruby red slipper. Toto, we're not in Kansas anymore. I think that is going to be put to good use," Ms Bishop said.

Those famous red heels are now in Canberra's Museum of Democracy, incidentally.

That probably doesn't make the election night gimmick any less cringeworthy.

 

First exit poll predicts Labor win

By Sam Clench

We have our first exit poll of the evening and it's good news for Labor.

The Nine-Galaxy poll shows a 2.5 per cent swing towards Labor in NSW, 3.2 per cent in Victoria, 1.1 per cent in Queensland, and 2.5 per cent across Western Australia, South Australia and Tasmania.

Nine's political editor Chris Uhlmann said that would put 13 Coalition seats within reach for Labor.

"I think it is very early days. Of course it is a troubling exit poll, but the pre-polling then becomes exceedingly important," said former Liberal deputy leader Julie Bishop, ever the optimist.

 

Which seats the leaders visited

By Sam Clench

After a long day of campaigning, Bill Shorten is about to return to his hotel to spend time with his family before the results begin rolling in.

Today he visited the Liberal-held electorates of Higgins, where Liberal PM Kelly O'Dwyer is retiring; Liberal MP Michael Sukkar's seat of Deakin; and Chisholm, held by the now-independent Julia Banks who has decided to contest a different seat.

The only marginal Labor seat he dropped into was the newly named Macnamara, which Josh Burns is seeking to retain after Michael Danby's retirement. The seat was previously called Melbourne Ports and is on a 1.2 per cent margin.

Earlier this morning, Mr Shorten cast his vote in his own seat of Maribyrnong, and statistics released by the Labor camp show his home state of Victoria has been a popular stop for Mr Shorten.

During the campaign Mr Shorten has spent the most time in Victoria, doing 21 events during nine visits across 13 days.

He has visited 10 seats including Chisholm, Corangamite, Deakin, Gellibrand, Hotham, Kooyong and La Trobe.

Queensland was the next most popular destination, with Mr Shorten visiting the seats of Dawson, Fisher, Flynn, Griffith, Herbert, Leichhardt, Petrie and Ryan.

In NSW, Mr Shorten has done 18 events across nine days but has concentrated his visits to seven electorates including Bennelong, Gilmore, Greenway, Lindsay, Reid and Robertson.

He has visited the electorate of Swan in Western Australia, three times and Stirling twice. He has also stopped at Cowan, Fremantle, Hasluck and Pearce.

In Tasmania, he has visited Lyons twice and Braddon twice, along with Bass and Clark.

 

Palmer 'volunteers' left speechless

By Sam Clench

Most of the people handing you how-to-vote cards today are extremely passionate about the cause. Others are just in it for some quick and easy cash.

As our friends at The Cairns Post report, Clive Palmer appears to have hired young models to man polling stations for the United Australia Party today.

There's a wonderfully awkward video with three of those workers, who were stumped when asked about the UAP's policies.

"What about Clive Palmer's policies do you like the best?" reporter Chris Calcino asked.

There was a long pause as the trio looked down at their how-to-vote cards, seemingly searching for a good answer.

"Tax cuts," they eventually decided.

They denied the claim that Mr Palmer was paying them.

"No. Just volunteering," one said.

"Because you love Clive?" Calcino asked.

"Just something different," she replied.

 

Mixed signs in Warringah

By Sam Clench

With polling booths due to close soon, we're hearing some reports back about the day's campaigning.

In Warringah, where independent Zali Steggall is attempting to oust former prime minister Tony Abbott, there have been some mixed responses.

Zali Steggall's team told news.com.au there's been a "very good feeling" in Manly.

But a spokesman said the Allambie area had been tougher for them.

Seaforth was "strong" and sentiment in Mosman and Neutral Bay had been "positive".

Mr Abbott has a 11.6 per cent margin in the electorate so technically it would take a massive swing for Ms Steggall to seize the seat in Sydney's northern beaches.

But that existing margin was racked up against the Greens in 2016. Ms Steggall is likely a more palatable option for Warringah voters.

 

GetUp!'s last push to 'ditch Dutton'

By Sam Clench

The left-wing activist group GetUp! hired a plane to fly above the seat of Dickson today, trailing the words "Ditch Dutton" behind it.

"Under the LNP health costs are sky high so it seemed appropriate," the group said.

You have to wonder how many voters were swayed by it.

Say you were planning to vote for Peter Dutton. But then a plane flew overhead telling you to ditch him. Would that be enough to change your mind? Yeah, probably not.

I'm also wondering whether GetUp! stopped to consider the number of wasteful carbon emissions their plane was so ironically spewing into the air.

 

'Sausage boy' gets hero's welcome

By Sam Clench

He's the hero Australia deserves, and the one we need.

A student from Eastwood, Cameron Last, has spent his day travelling to a bunch of different polling places and stuffing his face with as many sausage sizzles as possible. He's already exceeded 10.

Wherever he goes, he gets a well deserved hero's welcome, as this video shows.

Note the woman yelling: "Yaaaay, sausage boy! Sausage boooooooy!"

 

Abbott bailed up by kids

By Shannon Molloy

Who says children aren't politically engaged?

 

Alan Jones to retire?

By Shannon Molloy

Another claim spreading like wildfire on social media is that conservative radio broadcast Alan Jones has vowed to quit if Labor win the election.

The Sydney shock jock apparently made the pledge on air this week, saying Bill Shorten as Prime Minister would inspire him to retire and step back from all public appearances.

It's been repeated countless times on Twitter and Facebook, but Jones said nothing of the sort.

 

Final YouGov election poll

By Sam Clench

 

 

 

Morrison meets old friend

By Sam Clench

Scott Morrison was very much in friendly territory when he cast his vote in Cook this afternoon.

The Prime Minister turned up at Lilli Pilli Public School, where his two daughters started their education, just after 2pm.

Lily and Abbey were waiting for him, and immediately wrapped their dad in a hug the moment he got out of his car.

An even more heartwarming moment came as Mr Morrison entered the school. At the front gate, he encountered Val Coy, who used to live on the same street as the Morrisons and had been volunteering for him throughout the day.

"My number one fan!" Mr Morrison said when he spotted Ms Coy, greeting her as an old friend.

"You could be my son," she responded.

Scott Morrison meets an old friend
Scott Morrison meets an old friend

The pair shared a quick chat before the Prime Minister pointed to a flyer bearing his own face and said: "Well I'd better go vote for this guy. He's pretty good."

Ms Coy told news.com.au she once lived six doors down from the Morrisons.

"What I loved about him too, and Jenny, they didn't have the biggest house. Never. Just a little property they had, lovely neat and tidy. But they didn't make a fortune out of being in the ministry," she said.

One of the best ways to judge a politician is to see how they act when there are no cameras around. By that measure, Mr Morrison's relationship with Ms Coy is an obvious credit to him.

When Ms Coy turned 80, she held a birthday party, and invited Mr Morrison. He was already busy with a career in politics by then, but showed up anyway, with no fanfare at all.

She has not forgotten it.

 

Scott and Jenny vote at home

By Shannon Molloy

Scott Morrison and wife Jenny have cast their votes in his south Sydney seat of Cook, after flying in from a final push in Tasmania.

The Prime Minister did his democratic duty at Lilli Pilli Public School in the Sutherland Shire, mobbed by supporters as he arrived.

One of them was an elderly woman named Val, who used to live next door to the Morrisons.

"It's been wonderful to see so many friends and people we've known for so long," Mr Morrison told the media.

Scott and Jenny cast votes in their seat of Cook
Scott and Jenny cast votes in their seat of Cook

"This community means the world to me. Wherever you live in this country, home is always the place that's most dear to you."

He thanked Coalition volunteers manning polling booths across the country for their hard work.

"I think you can guess how I voted. I've heard this local member is pretty good."

 

Fake how-to-vote cards handed out

By Natalie Wolfe

Fake how-to-vote cards have been given out to voters in Dickson, the Brisbane electorate Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton has held for 18 years.

The cards advise people voting for the minor parties, including One Nation, the Greens and the Animal Justice Party to put Mr Dutton ahead of Ali France, Dickson's Labor candidate.

Labor has provided pictures of the fake flyers to news.com.au.

Labor provided pictures of the fake flyers given out to voters in Dickson.
Labor provided pictures of the fake flyers given out to voters in Dickson.

This is a breach of the Commonwealth Electoral Act as it is misleading or deceptive.

Mr Dutton is in the fight of his political life thanks to Ms France.

The Greens' how-to-vote cards preference Ms France, not Mr Dutton.

The fake cards, with the heading "Vote For Queensland", are authorised by a local Brisbane man who just happens to have a Peter Dutton sign sitting in his front yard.

Mr Dutton spoke to reporters this afternoon and told them he was confident he would win Dickson again.

"I'm confident we can win this election. I think that Scott Morrison has run an exceptional campaign. It's a great credit to him, to the cabinet, to our whole team. The discipline that's been there in the face of a lot of mud thrown by GetUp, Labor, the Greens, etc," he said.

"We stared all of that down and the government has been able to provide now a platform to say to the Australian public, we aren't going to tax you into bankruptcy, we aren't going to tax your retirement saving, we aren't going to make it harder for your kids to get into their own first home or housing, and I think we have run a very effective campaign."

 

'We're stuffed': Senior Liberal nervous

By Shannon Molloy

The crucial Melbourne seat of Higgins could cause a major upset for the Coalition, with growing concern it will be lost tonight.

ABC host Michael Rowland quotes a "senior" Liberal as saying: "If that goes, we're stuffed."

Liberal MP Kelly O'Dwyer's retirement from politics made the contest a tough one and Greens hopeful Jason Ball is polling well.

Labor candidate Fiona McLeod has also campaigned well but the Australian Council of Trade Unions controversially placed her below Mr Ball on its how-to-vote cards.

Polling last week showed that Katie Allen, hoping to keep the electorate blue, has a primary vote of 45 per cent, which would deliver a victory.

 

'Disgraceful': More sign drama in Victoria

By Natalie Wolfe

Labor's candidate for Deakin Shireen Morris has been targeted by vandals, with some of her signs being defaced to make it look like she's wearing Islamic headdress.

Ms Morris took to Twitter to lash the vandalism, calling it "disgraceful".

Liberal MP Michael Sukkar holds Deakin, in Melbourne's east, by a 6.44 per cent margin.

But Mr Sukkar is in for a fight after he was targeted by union ads for backing Peter Dutton and also had to face being dumped from the front bench after Scott Morrison became prime minister.

Ms Morris received overwhelming support after sharing the pictures on social media.

ABC's Patricia Karvelas called the graffiti "repulsive" while former NSW Premier turned senator Kristina Keneally called it "disgusting".

 

#DemocracySausage lights up social media

By Natalie Wolfe

Aussies are tweeting up a storm as they head to the polls to vote with more than two million people sharing their #DemocracySausage experience over the election campaign.


An interactive map from Twitter showed how Aussies right around the country were using the social media app to speak about politics.

Twitter also released its most tweeted about topics linked to #AusVotes2019.

Tax has been the topic most tweeted about down to foreign land ownership.

  • Tax
  • Economic Growth & Trade
  • Climate Change
  • Employment
  • Healthcare
  • Cyber Security
  • Digital Transformation
  • Corruption
  • International Relations
  • Foreign Land Ownership

 

Shorten mobbed by Adani protesters

By Charis Chang

Protesters surrounded Bill Shorten during a short visit to a polling booth in Higgins in Melbourne's south east.

Labor is hoping to pick up the seat, which is held on a margin of 7.4 per cent by Liberal MP Kelly O'Dwyer, who is retiring.

Mr Shorten visited Carnegie Primary School to hand out how-to-vote cards with Labor candidate Fiona McLeod but was overwhelmed by protesters.

"Bill if you win this election, our climate is in your hands," one man yelled. "Act on climate change!"

"Bill, why won't you let us have a future?" another said.

Liberal volunteers as well as anti-Adani protesters and Greens volunteers surrounded Mr Shorten, with some drowning out his conversations with their singing.

"No, no, no Adani, never going to build that mine," they sang.

Many residents wished him luck and took selfies. Others politely took Mr Shorten's how-to-vote cards but many said "no comment" when asked later if they would support Labor.

One man said he would "definitely not" be voting for Mr Shorten but one woman said she would because she liked his plans for infrastructure and creating new jobs.

 

Clive Palmer campaigner drops his dacks

By Shannon Molloy

A campaigner for Clive Palmer's United Australia Party took the spirit of democracy sausage a little too literally in western Sydney this morning.

Police were called to a polling booth in Bankstown just after 10am, when a confrontation between the 62-year-old man and a group of people turned seriously weird.

The man allegedly exposed himself to three women and one man after the tiff, leading him to be cautioned, fined and forced to leave the area.

In what's been a pretty strange campaign, public indecency really ups the ante.

 

Dutton continues political fight of his life

By Natalie Wolfe

Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton has been spotted doing some last-minute campaigning in his Queensland electorate of Dickson.

Mr Dutton, who failed in his challenge to become prime minister last year, is in the fight of his political life as he duels for votes with Labor candidate Ali Francis.

Mr Dutton was photographed at Pine Rivers High School, an area he knows well after growing up just around the corner.

He has held Dickson, located in the north of Brisbane, for 18 years.

Grass-roots campaigning by GetUp has put pressure on Mr Dutton, who started his campaigning with a gaffe when he claimed Ms France was using her disability as an "excuse" not to move into the electorate.

Mr Dutton later apologised for the comment.

Mr Dutton holds the mortgage-belt seat covering Brisbane's northwestern suburbs and some rural parts, by a wafer-thin 1.69 per cent but is expected to win.

 

Clive Palmer in breach of electoral act

By Charis Chang

After it was revealed a few weeks ago that Clive Palmer's corflutes were printed in China, his United Australia Party has now decided to just remove the name of the printer altogether - a move that is in breach of the electoral act, the Labor Party said.

"Clive Palmer has shown once again he thinks the rules don't apply to him," a Labor spokesperson told news.com.au.
"Several weeks ago Mr Palmer's hypocrisy was exposed for printing his materials in China. Now he is trying to cover up the truth to funnel more votes to the LNP.

"This is just another example of Clive Palmer selling out Australian workers. And everyone knows Scott Morrison sold his soul to Clive Palmer."

 

'Tasmania is going to decide what happens in this election'

By Natalie Wolfe

Scott Morrison has made a 100 kilometre dash to Davenport from Launceston, arriving at the Ulverstone secondary college in the electorate of Braddon at 11am.

The Tasmanian marginal is held by Labor's Justine Keay on 1.7 per cent.
He said the seat, along with Bass and Lyons next door, would decide "not just who the next local member is the next Prime Minister is."
"Tasmania in significant ways is going to decide what happens in this election," he said.

The Morrison team has visited Tasmania twice in the final week, pointing to tightening internal polls that suggest they believe they could snatch the electorates from Labor to offset some expected losses in Victoria.

He speculated the last time there was a prime minister in Tasmania on polling day was when Tasmanian-born Joseph Lyons was in office during the 1930s.

The party's chances in Lyons were dealt a blow at the beginning of the campaign when the Liberal Party candidate Jessica Whelan was disendorsed after making anti-muslim comments on Facebook.

The decision has forced the Morrison campaign to back the Nationals candidate Deanna Hutchinson - splitting its vote in the key seat.

"They are our candidate down there in Lyons and we want to wish them all the best," Mr Morrison said.

"I think what is interesting about Lyons is that Labor is doing so badly in Lyons - people are rejecting them because they don't like the labor greens deal, they know what it means for jobs and their economic future," he said.

Mr Morrison noted that "four million people have pre-polled around the country before the start of voting," a record number of Australians.

He said he hoped they had made their early decision in favour of the Coalition.

"There is a clear choice," he said.

One voter said he would vote for Mr Morrison because Labor would take away his pension.

Labor has no plans to change the pension and has announced more than a $1 billion in free dental for retirees in an effort to quell community unease around its franking credit policy.

Mr Morrison will take off from Devonport at midday and head for Sydney, where he will vote, before visiting his parents Marion and John.

- AAP

 

'Unbelievable': Purple signs in Mandarin encourage Liberal votes

By Natalie Wolfe

Labor and Greens volunteers have lashed the Liberal Party after signs using the Australian Electoral Commision colours and written in Mandarin were spotted at polling booths.

The signs, which have been seen across a number of electorates in Melbourne, tell voters the "correct way" to vote is by putting a number 1 next to the Liberal candidate.

The sign then directs voters to number the rest of the boxes to ensure the vote is counted.

RELATED: The rising power of the Chinese-Australian vote

A photo of the sign was shared by Victorian Trades Hall Council secretary Luke Hilakari and shows the Mandarin sign sitting next to an AEC banner.

The electorate Mr Hilakari saw the signs in was Chisholm, a marginal Melbourne seat.

Mr Hilakari later took to Twitter to claim they tried to pull down the signs but the Liberal campaigner said they would call the police.

The Greens confirmed they also spotted the signs in Kooyong, held by Treasurer Josh Frydenberg.

The signs have caused widespread anger on social media, with ABC's Virginia Trioli saying the tactic was "pretty extraordinary" and called on the AEC to take action.

The AEC has since responded, with the commission's spokesman Evan Ekin-Smyth confirming the posters did not need to be taken down as they were properly authorised and no laws had been breached.

"Under electoral legislation election material has to comply with the following: it has to be authorised and cannot be within six metres of the entrance to the polling place," the AEC said.

When pushed and asked if the signs were "misrepresentation", the AEC responded again.

The Labor Party has lodged an official complaint with the AEC, a spokesperson confirmed.

"This is a new low - a pathetic and dirty attempt to deceive voters because the Liberals have no policy to talk about," the spokesperson said.


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