Bill Shorten appears on track to become just the fourth Labor leader to win power from opposition since World War II.
One of those victorious Labor leaders was Bob Hawke, who won four elections out of four, and died aged 89 on Thursday night.
It led to a public outpouring of fond memories about the larrikin prime minister just hours out from election day.
Coalition MPs believe Prime Minister Scott Morrison has campaigned well and brought voters back to the government, but perhaps not enough to hold power outright.
Opinion polls are averaging 51.5 per cent to Labor on two-party preferred terms – an estimated net gain of 10 seats, taking its numbers to 79 in the 151-seat parliament.
Without taking into consideration the impact of the redrawing of seats, the Coalition start the race with 74 MPs to Labor’s 69, with seven crossbenchers in the lower house.
There are also 40 Senate seats up for grabs, out of 76.
Labor has run an ambitious policy strategy rather than taking the safer option of a small target approach against a government that imploded in August, with the ditching of prime minister Malcolm Turnbull.
“We rejected the tyranny of low ambition and the politics of small targets and chose instead to present a positive vision for the future,” Mr Shorten told a campaign rally in Blacktown on Thursday.
“Our political opponents stand where they always have stood – against change, against progress, and are servants to the same vested interests – the big banks and big business.”
Mr Morrison stuck to the same themes all campaign – jobs, a stronger economy, and how voters can’t trust Labor to manage money.
From day one he used the same lines, and he didn’t shy away from them in his final major speech of the campaign.
“Labor have never demonstrated they can manage money. They are proposing the biggest spending of a government that we have ever seen in this country,” Mr Morrison told the National Press Club on Thursday.
“If only their capacity to spend money was as good as their capacity to want to spend money.”
On the campaign trail, some undecided voters told reporters they were concerned about where Labor would get money to fund promises – a sign the attacks were cutting through.
But for many voters the constant advertising on their phones, their computers, their televisions, their radios and their newspapers was too much.
Just over five million people had voted early or asked for postal ballots as of Thursday.
Mindful of that trend, both major parties unveiled their major policies either before the campaign or in the early weeks.
Health was a major theme for both leaders. Mr Shorten promised more money for state hospitals and an expansion of Medicare to cover cancer treatments and scans.
Mr Morrison relied on the Coalition’s record of listing more than 2000 medicines on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme and announced a significant youth mental health package.
Unlike previous elections, border protection and national security barely featured.
Instead the battle was largely fought on the grounds Mr Morrison chose – tax – and Mr Shorten picked – health, education and fairness.
The two leaders will campaign until 6pm on Saturday before the polls close. Then it is a wait for the numbers to come in.