Scott Morrison has defied the polls to secure a stunning victory after voters delivered a savage verdict on Labor’s so-called “retiree tax” and negative gearing reforms.
The Prime Minister’s first task will be to urgently recall Parliament to pass legislation to deliver his planned $1080 tax cuts for workers earning under $130,000 a year.
But in a night of shock results, former prime minister Tony Abbott was turfed from Parliament by independent Zali Steggall, conservative Peter Dutton won the seat of Dickson with an increased majority, and Clive Palmer failed to secure his Senate spot despite spending an estimated $60 million on advertising.
As he claimed victory just after midnight, the Prime Minister paid tribute to the “quiet Australians” who had delivered the Liberal Party victory.
“I have always believed in miracles,” he said.
“And tonight we’ve been delivered another one. How good is Australia?
“God Bless Australia.”
It was a shock result that saw Bill Shorten stand down as Labor leader shortly after he called the Prime Minister to concede defeat late on Saturday night.
“I want to say beyond this room to Australians who supported Labor: I know that you’re all hurting and I am too,” Mr Shorten said.
“This has been a tough campaign. Toxic at times. But 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 Labor leadership ballot.”
It was a shock result that saw Labor’s primary vote crash to as low as 26 per cent in Queensland.
The Coalition looks set to secure a majority, locking in 74 seats Saturday night in the 151 seat Parliament as counting continued. They are expected to secure a 76 seat majority.
Labor’s primary vote crashed to 33 per cent and the Liberals rose to 41 per cent – defying the many published polls.
Labor had 67 seats locked in while counting continued. Bass and Braddon in Tasmania were losses for Labor. Herbert and Longman in Queensland, and Lindsay in NSW also fell to the Liberals.
Labor failed to make the gains it expected, due largely to a poor primary vote of just 33.92 per cent, which was 1.59 percentage points below its primary vote at the 2016 election.
The Coalition’s primary vote as of Saturday night was 41.7 per cent, 1.3 percentage points below its 2016 result.
USA president Donald Trump Tweeted his congratulations.
Congratulations to Scott on a GREAT WIN! https://t.co/IKxDrQmHfV
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 18, 2019
The Coalition lost Gilmore to Labor and Tony Abbott’s Sydney seat of Warringah to the independent Ms Steggall.
Earlier, Labor frontbencher Anthony Albanese all but declared he will stand in upcoming leadership ballot.
Former Prime Minister John Howard said it was clear that Mr Shorten was “no Bob Hawke”.
“He has done something I don’t think Bob Hawke would have ever done, and that is trying to divide the country on class lines,” Mr Howard said.
Labor’s Tanya Plibersek blamed “a scare campaign” for the result.
“The Liberals ran an extremely negative scare campaign,” she said.
“They just made up Labor policies, you know? There was death duties attack they just made up … you know, forcing people to drive electric cars, stealing your weekends, stealing your Tim Tams. I mean, there’s a lot of fantasy, the Liberal Party campaign against Labor.”
Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton declared victory in Dickson and took the opportunity to return serve to Paul Keating who had urged voters to drive a stake through his heart.
“I want to thank a former prime minister. His name is Paul Keating. This is the sweetest victory of all,” Mr Dutton said.
But in another upset, it appeared that Clive Palmer would fall short of securing a Queensland Senate ticket despite spending $60 million on advertising.
“He spent, what, $60 million bucks on negative ads about us. It doesn’t look like he is going to get a seat himself but he has done a good job in funnelling preferences to the Coalition,” Labor frontbencher Penny Wong said.