As counting continues in Election 2016 there has been a national swing of +3.27% to Labor, with wins also to the minor parties and independents.
While it is still too early to foreshadow a result, the nation could be headed towards a hung parliament or a razor thin margin for a returned Coalition government.
The ALP has made major gains in Tasmania while the government has lost seats in Queensland and NSW. Immigration Minister Peter Dutton has a fight to retain his seat, Jamie Briggs appears to have lost his seat to the Nick Xenophon party, and Kelly O’Dwyer in Victoria is in a close race.
Commentators are in agreement that any swing will not be uniform and that a result will not be known until late tonight.
Labor claims Eden-Monaro win
Labor has claimed the nation’s ultimate bellwether seat of Eden-Monaro.
Senior Labor figure Richard Marles told Sky News the seat had been won by Labor’s Mike Kelly.
If the coalition wins the election it will be the first time Eden-Monaro was not held by the government since 1972.
Mr Kelly, who was a frontbencher in the previous Labor government before losing his seat to Peter Hendy, told supporters the campaign was won by reaching out far and wide across the community.
“We were in touch,” he said.
He also heaped praise on Labor leader Bill Shorten, calling for him to be retained as leader.
It comes amid speculation he could be challenged if the opposition loses the election.
“Bill provided the lightning rod, the leadership, the drive, the commitment, the will, the belief.
“He is a fine leader in the tradition of Bob Hawke and we need to hang on to Bill to continue to lead us in the future – he deserves that opportunity.”
Burney declares Labor win in Barton
Labor’s Linda Burney is packing her bags for Canberra after declaring she’s won the south Sydney seat of Barton.
“Barton has created history tonight in Australia by electing the first indigenous woman to the House of Representatives,” the former NSW deputy Labor leader told Sky News.
The seat was won by the Coalition’s Nick Varvaris in the 2013 election but became a notional Labor seat after a redrawing of electoral boundaries.
Counting from 13 booths showed a four per cent swing to Ms Burney.
“Wonderful, wonderful,” Ms Burney told Sky News, as projections showed she was in position to take Barton with more than 10 per cent of the vote counted.
“There was some ugliness earlier in the day at the booths and the kitchen sink’s been thrown in the last couple of days”.
Ms Burton paid tribute to the “astounding” support shown by the community.
“I am grateful that I have been chosen as the member and I am sure Barton will be back in the Labor fold tonight,” she said.
Former NSW premier and Sky panellist Kristina Keneally teared up upon hearing of Ms Burney’s success, describing her as great friend.
Briggs declares Mayo lost to Xenophon,
Former cities minister Jamie Briggs has lost his South Australian seat of Mayo to the Nick Xenophon Team, but Sarah Henderson will keep the marginal Victorian seat of Corangamite.
Former federal government minister Jamie Briggs has conceded his Adelaide seat of Mayo.
“After a tough fight tonight hasn’t been our night, thanks to those who supported me and my best to the new member, it’s a great electorate,” he said on Twitter.
Nick Xenophon Team candidate Rebekah Sharkey will now represent the former blue ribbon seat.
The slide in the vote for Mr Briggs was partly because of his fall from grace when he was forced to quit as a federal minister late last year after allegations of misconduct towards a public servant in Hong Kong.
He also had to defend his decision to send a photograph to colleagues identifying the public servant who lodged a confidential complaint about his behaviour.
It was clear the issue was still on the minds of some voters, with a woman confronting him after he cast his ballot at Stirling on Saturday.
“Do you regret sending that photo of that lady to everybody Mr Briggs. Do you wish you didn’t do it?” the woman said.
Libs to retain Corangamite
Liberal Party Victorian president Michael Kroger told Sky News on Saturday night that candidate Sarah Henderson will keep the marginal seat of Corangamite.
“Corangamite’s over,” the Liberal state president told Sky News while praising incumbent Sarah Henderson after more than 10 per cent of the vote had been counted.
“It’s been won.”
Liberal MP Sarah Henderson, however, is “quietly confident” of retaining the seat.
“There is still a lot of pre-polls to come in but the signs are very, very good and looking positive,” she told Channel Nine.
The firefighters pay dispute between CFA volunteers and the Andrews Labor state government played a big part in the outcome in the Geelong area seat, where the Wye River bushfire caused devastation over Christmas.
“Frankly, what Daniel Andrews and Bill Shorten have tried to do – a union takeover of the CFA – is absolutely disgraceful,” she said.
Labor frontbencher Anthony Albanese conceded the CFA issue had had an impact on Labor’s performance in several Victorian seats, including McEwen, La Trobe, Ballarat and Bendigo.
But he said Ms Henderson had also been a very effective local member.
Early swings to Labor
A Sky News exit poll on Saturday reveals 62 per cent of voters believe the Coalition will win, including 39 per cent of Labor voters.
But a Galaxy Research exit poll of 25 marginal seats, conducted for the Nine Network, shows the election is too close to call.
It shows there’s a swing to Labor of 3.4 per cent, which would give the opposition party 68 seats – short of the 76 needed to form a majority government.
Across the marginals, the Coalition’s primary vote is around 43 per cent, Labor 36 per cent, with the Greens on nine per cent. After preferences, its 50-50.
Senior Labor figure Anthony Albanese says it points to a good outcome for the opposition.
“We’ve been ahead in the polls for most of this term,” he told the Nine Network.
“I’m hoping to get my incoming brief as a minister tomorrow.”
According to the Sky poll, health and Medicare was the most important issue for 72 per cent of voters, followed by education with 63 per cent of voters – both key Labor policies.
The budget and economy came in third, followed by superannuation, negative gearing and building unions.
But company tax cuts – the government’s key economic policy – came last, with just 29 per cent of coalition voters nominating it a very important issue.
Former Liberal treasurer Peter Costello said the two issues the Coalition always leads on – the economy and border protection – weren’t being highlighted in the exit polls.
This could represent a potential “strategic mistake” for the Coalition’s re-election campaign.
“If you come out of an exit poll and you say `the issues I was most interested in were Medicare and education’, you are basically saying that Labor’s agenda was the predominant agenda rather than the coalition’s agenda,” Mr Costello told Nine.
-with ABC, AAP