Voters leave Australia hanging

Updated August 21, 2010 22:21:00

Australia's political future hangs in the balance as a big swing against Labor on the eastern seaboard looks set to make the Coalition the largest bloc in the first hung parliament since World War II.

Labor MPs have been swept aside by swings of more than 9 per cent against them in former prime minister Kevin Rudd's home state of Queensland, and of more than 6 per cent in New South Wales.

ABC election analyst Antony Green now says he expects the Coalition to have 73 seats in the House of Representatives, with Labor on 72, four independents, and one Green.

And recriminations against Labor's campaign have already begun, with ousted Bennelong MP Maxine McKew taking aim at the party's decision to ditch Kevin Rudd only two months ago.

With more than half the votes counted Labor is set to lose at least 16 seats and gain only two, leaving it unable to muster the 76 seats required for an overall majority.

The swing against Labor is smaller in South Australia and Victoria, meaning the Coalition is also unlikely to be able to muster an outright majority.

All eyes are now turning to Western Australia, where a swing of 5 per cent against the ALP could deliver more bad news for Prime Minister Julia Gillard.

Treasurer Wayne Swan says it is too early to speculate about a hung parliament.

"I can't speculate about that tonight. I don't know if that's going to eventuate or not. I think we're just going to have to wait," he said.

"I think there are a lot of very close seats out there. I think we've got to wait a few days before we go through those results."

McKew takes aim

But Ms McKew, who lost her seat to Liberal candidate and former tennis star John Alexander and was handpicked to run in Bennelong in 2007 by Kevin Rudd, was more forthcoming.

She lost no time in pointing to his downfall as a factor in Labor's political humiliation.

"Clearly you cannot have the removal of a Labor leader, and a prime minister, and then two months later have an election and not have that play into the outcome," she said.

Ms McKew said federal Labor's election campaign left a lot to be desired.

"There are some very big questions for the Labor Party given what has happened tonight," she said.

"We shouldn't be on a knife-edge tonight, and we shouldn't be losing colleagues all over the country."

Ms McKew said that in 2007 the party had run a professional, targeted, clear campaign and should have made more of its economic credentials this time around.

And she conceded that scepticism about the promised $2.6 billion Epping to Parramatta rail link had also been difficult to overcome.

Hung parliament

Liberal Senator Nick Minchin said a hung Parliament was "looking the most likely option at this point".

Senator Minchin said he could not find the 76 seats the Coalition would need for outright victory.

A hung parliament would be the first in Australia since 1940, when Robert Menzies' United Australia Party governed with the help of the Country Party and two independents.

Among the big winners on the night was the Greens' Adam Bandt, who snatched the inner city seat of Melbourne from Labor following outgoing finance minister Lindsay Tanner's decision to retire.

As well as Melbourne and Bennelong, Labor was expected to lose Gilmore, Macarthur, Macquarie, Bonner, Brisbane, Dawson, Denison, Dickson, Flynn, Forde, Herbert, Leichhardt and Longman to the Coalition and the Northern Territory seat of Solomon to the Country Liberal Party.

The ALP was also poised to lose the Tasmanian seat of Denison to independent Andrew Wilkie.

Tasmanian Labor Senator Nick Sherry said it was too early to say what kind of deals may be done with independent candidates.

"I think it would be a bit presumptive to assume any of the independents - what their position might be," he said. "There is appeal to Labor in some of these independents."

Twenty-year-old Wyatt Roy was set to become Australia's youngest MP, taking the south-east Queensland seat of Longman for the LNP.

Labor's Mike Kelly looked set to hang on to Eden-Monaro, the seat which has traditionally fallen to the party which will form government, while independent Warren Entsch, who retired in 2007, snatched his old northern Queensland seat of Leichhardt back from the ALP.

Liberal frontbencher Peter Dutton, who held on to his seat of Dickson, said he was still waiting to see what happened in marginal seats before speculating on how the Liberals would deal with a hung parliament.

"It's quite an incredible night," he said.

"We'll have to see in those dozen or so marginal seats what happens. I think Tony Abbott certainly deserves to be victorious tonight, but we'll wait and see."

Tags: government-and-politics, elections, federal-government, federal-elections, australia, act, nsw, nt, qld, sa, tas, vic, wa

First posted August 21, 2010 21:30:00

Comments (120)

Comments for this story are closed, but you can still have your say.

  • mike:

    21 Aug 2010 9:48:52pm

    congrats Tony - you have proved that you can actually polish a turd. Bad for AU though......

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    • Stephen:

      21 Aug 2010 10:06:26pm

      So you think its fair that Australia should be governed by a party which wins only 38% of the primary vote. Thats only just over 1/3 of the population wanted them.

      Our electorial system is rigged towards the socialist left.

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      • rossta:

        21 Aug 2010 10:14:42pm

        Really ? - but the Libs can't do anything without the Nationals can they.

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      • mike:

        21 Aug 2010 10:15:05pm

        My point is that he is a dasgerous man who has conned the public into thinking he isn't. 12 months ago NO ONE would have given him the time of day! What has changed?

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      • Val:

        21 Aug 2010 10:16:35pm

        Fear mongering against socialists and socialist sided notions does not serve your efforts well, Stephen.

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        • Stephen:

          21 Aug 2010 10:29:05pm

          Its actually a well documented statistic. Go back and review some of the past elections such as the WA 2000, 2004, TAS 2010, Federal 1971, NSW late 1990s. SA 2010.

          In every one of those elections labour won power with the a primary vote of less than 39% some 5%+ behind the L/NP.

          Does that seem exactly a representative system?

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        • wanthony:

          21 Aug 2010 11:48:34pm

          It's very odd for a person to recommend First Past the Post over Proportional Representation when the basis of their complaint is that under the latter system less than 39% support can gain government. First Past the Post will give results far 'worse' than this because it does not require anyone to have a predefined proportion of voters' support. Under that system a person could be elected with 25% support. It all depends on the number of candidates.

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        • Stephen:

          21 Aug 2010 10:34:01pm

          This result just shows the 2 party prefered system is DEAD federally. Many Australians dont understand the concept of our preferential voting system.

          Everything you see on the media is all about 2 party result. This result shows that Australia is maturing as an a country and our policitical system needs to change for the 21st century.

          I am very glad we have our first green member of the lower house (even though he is left wing), a central independant, and 3 right leaning independants.

          Thus we need to move towards a much more appropriate proportional voting system based on 3,2,1 voting.

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        • Disenfranchised:

          21 Aug 2010 10:52:44pm

          I can't say I wholeheartedly agree with your politics but you speak sense. The preferential voting system does need an overhaul, or a major education campaign so that people actually understand how it works.

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        • chris roubis:

          21 Aug 2010 11:45:16pm

          This west minister system is far from democratic.

          bring in a real democratic system where parties who get voted get their own seats.

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      • Robert:

        21 Aug 2010 10:21:05pm

        Stephen says
        "Our electorial system is rigged towards the socialist left."

        Lucky for you, I guess that there is very little substantive difference between Liberal and Labor.

        With even more luck for you, the next Australian Federal election will be even more "presidential", with people far beyond Melbourne and Sydney's Northern Beaches wondering why Julia Gillard and Tony Abbot aren't on their ballot papers.

        Lucky for you that Rupert Murdoch's media empire is fighting the good fight for the free enterprise which I am guessing you believe should reign supreme in Australia.

        Lucky for you. I'd be happy to see you get the planet you deserve, if it weren't that I live on it, too.

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      • Peter:

        21 Aug 2010 10:25:27pm

        So who should govern Stephen... the Coalition only got 43%.

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        • Stephen:

          21 Aug 2010 10:45:22pm

          Yes the Coalition only got 43% of the vote, but that is more than the 38% of the labour party.

          If you have been listening to some of the messages from the independants they are spot on in regards to the formation of government.

          We now have a multi party lower house, and thus this is going to give Australia a far better government and parliament. If you look back to this country's formation, there were many more parties and coalitions (on both sides) which were required for form government.

          This is not about the red and blue corners. Robert mentions about Presidential style which has been what has happened for so many years in Australia. This givers us a real change in government.

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        • Ash:

          21 Aug 2010 11:13:19pm

          Howard beat Beazley the same way Stephen.

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        • JD:

          22 Aug 2010 12:27:37am

          Correct - the party with the most votes should win in their own right. Why should the country be held to ransom with seats by an extreme left wing political group? Absolute rubbish.

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      • matt:

        21 Aug 2010 10:26:48pm

        It's really not. A large majority of Green voters preference Labor (of their own accord) - if they chose to preference Lib's it would be a different story.

        I for one applaud a system where voters are able to vote for minority parties and voice their true opinions without fear of 'throwing their vote away.'

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      • Pitzicada:

        21 Aug 2010 10:43:46pm

        Labor is Socialist left is it Stephen? Interesting take. I don't think many people would agree that labor could be considered Socialist left.

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      • chris:

        21 Aug 2010 11:16:20pm

        but what about the 98 election john howard recieved less votes but maintained leadership??? how is geared one way or another?

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      • John:

        21 Aug 2010 11:46:41pm

        Really ? You seriously think that a man like Tony Abbot with that 70s and 80s mentality and ideas is suitable to lead a nation in 2010. If this country is going to move forward Tony Abbot and Barnaby Joyce are exactly the type of politicians we need to get rid off. They have done nothing to enhance Australia's reputation oversea's as an outward looking country.

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      • daviddc:

        22 Aug 2010 12:07:57am

        Hey Stephen,

        to win a seat in our preferential voting system doesn't a party have to just get at least half of the votes plus one?

        and to win control of the Reps doesn't it need just half of the seats plus one?

        so, a party could win control of the Reps and so have the right to approach the Governor-General with just a smidge over 25% of the total vote !!

        and equally a party could lose the right to form a government if they have just a few votes less than 75% of the popular vote!

        To get 38% or 42% or whatever as long as its greater than 76 votes more than 25% and form a government, does it matter? that shows how our preferential system of voting works,

        and conservative people wouldn't want anyone getting liberal and upsetting things by having a first past the post or optional preference process? would they?

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      • John O:

        22 Aug 2010 12:24:34am

        The ALP primary vote was pathetic - the lowest primary vote for a governemnt ever. If you wish to base it on this then- yes - the Coalition should be in power.

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      • Peter:

        22 Aug 2010 12:31:02am

        System rigged? It's completely screwed.

        And what's wrong with "socialist left"?

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    • chris roubis:

      21 Aug 2010 11:42:14pm

      It is such a joke when people call this a democratic system..

      When will we ever have a fair and democratic voting system when Parties that get voted, do get their own seats..

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      • Peter:

        22 Aug 2010 12:34:38am

        We could have an even more democratic system without any parties...

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  • Democracy:

    21 Aug 2010 9:52:33pm

    Australia right now looking....well...hung!

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  • Jenni:

    21 Aug 2010 9:52:58pm

    I am a bit confused with one thing. The statement made in this story of "As well as Melbourne, Labor was expected to lose Bennelong, Gilmore, Macarthur, Bonner, Brisbane, Dawson, Denison, Dickson, Flynn, Forde, Herbert, Leichhardt and Longman to the Coalition."

    Gilmore was held by Joanna Gash from the liberal party and has held it for quite a few years now so how could Labor loss it?

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    • jenny:

      21 Aug 2010 10:13:46pm

      It has had a re-distribution which made it theoretically a slightly ALP-majority seat. However, it seems she has won.

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    • Mhor:

      21 Aug 2010 10:17:26pm

      he Liberal Party's grip on Gilmore has been weakened by the redistribution. The electorate shifts north, losing 13,000 voters in Batemans Bay where the Liberal 2-party vote was 54.8% in 2007, while gaining 18,000 voters from Throsby where Labor's 2-party vote was 67.2%. On paper the existing Liberal margin of 4.1% is wiped out, replaced by an estimated Labor margin of 0.4%. However, Gash is a well known sitting member and has previously represented some of the areas added to the electorate. It is likely that her vote will be higher than that recorded for the Liberal candidate in Throsby at the 2007 election.

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  • Rob:

    21 Aug 2010 9:54:30pm

    So we'll end up with third rank broadband... cuts to public schools, public health, unemployed people doing physical gardening jobs for 300/week that full paid gardeners do for 500-1000/week...

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    • Rob:

      21 Aug 2010 10:08:50pm

      It also clearly demonstrates the shallowness of both the voters and the public when the only core promise of the LNP is turning boats away...

      So the Australian public is only interested in the LNP party for turning away boats.... WHAT HAVE WE BECOME????

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      • Michael:

        21 Aug 2010 10:15:57pm

        Labor had the same policy before the last election. They lied and mislead the public.

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        • peter:

          21 Aug 2010 11:58:36pm

          she wouldnt shut up about workchoices abbott,said they were finished,its good to see that all the bagging she did against tony was bound to come back and bite her in the backside,another bad loss for tonite the daily double bulldogs going down to the swans go for it liberal and move into the lodge and start cleaning up the mess they labor have created in australia...

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      • rossta:

        21 Aug 2010 10:18:05pm

        The modern term is "dumbed down ".

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        • Rob:

          21 Aug 2010 10:22:27pm

          Yes.. the Liberal mantra... dumb down the public [cut schools, medical etc,. whilst funding the elite and business while making the middle class pay and creating a third tier of unemployed green armies... {make them plouh the fields for 200/week instead of getting trained and looking for work}].... and they will think the Liberals are amazing... and vote them every time...

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      • Tombolo:

        21 Aug 2010 10:23:46pm

        We've become overcrowded - in the cities at least. The youth are still moving from country to city - and the country people are voting against the NBN while wondering why the youth don't want to live in the country.

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        • charlie in rural new york:

          21 Aug 2010 11:16:14pm

          It's that way in the rural portions of the States, too. People routinely vote to not fund programs that would benefit younger people, and then complain that their children move to the big cities.

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    • Dugong:

      21 Aug 2010 11:04:48pm

      Which is what the people voted for. Move on.

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  • steve:

    21 Aug 2010 9:54:35pm

    With such a swing against Labour, I propose the coalition be able to add a few independents to their ranks ...

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  • Disenfranchised:

    21 Aug 2010 9:56:16pm

    As a "regular" aussie, who doesn't want the boats turned back, actually does care about the environment, wouldn't waste a vote on the NBN and values charismatic, professional and worldly leadership, neither of the major parties deserved my vote. If I am responsible for a hung parliament - I have no regrets. Perhaps next time around the parties can come up with some real policies and let us know what they actually stand for. The massive swing towards the greens and any old offering that's not Labor or Liberal across the entire country proves that the major parties are out of touch with reality.

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    • Jonesie:

      21 Aug 2010 10:15:17pm

      Yes Disenfranchised - totally agree. I knew my vote today would very likely contribute to a hung Parliament however, I cant relate to either or the main parties. They certainly don't represent my values. Lets hope this is the wake up call they need......

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    • WA Voter:

      21 Aug 2010 10:54:45pm

      I'm with you, hey. I think a lot of Australians share this position. It just goes to show how out of touch the two major parties are. Surely we've moved beyond running a hugely negative campaign based on mud-slinging the other guy? And all this talk about "working families" and a lack of real policies backed up by core values have left people feeling alienated. General talk about Population, Jobs, Debt, etc, just don't cut it. I think Maxine McKew's comments were bang-on - Labor made some key choices that people have responded to at the polling booths. The primary vote speaks for itself, heaps of voters have ditched Labor for the Greens - I am one of those people. I want my federal representatives to have a global mentality, people who can be brave and actually stand for something.
      I think the hung parliament will send a strong message to both major parties that they have to step up and give Australians a real choice.

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  • Sick of PC:

    21 Aug 2010 9:58:19pm

    ....Consult the Book of Parliament, chapter 13 verse 4. "Thou shall take thou politicians and thou smite the electorate with thine meaningless rubbish and thou install a mean nasty vile individual as potential PM, one who takes his policy from the Old testament" Pope Benedict via Vice Pell.

    Hung parliament......well give them enough rope and they will hang themselves!

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  • Rob:

    21 Aug 2010 9:59:10pm

    We swap Laurel and Hardy for Abbott and once Costello....

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  • teepee:

    21 Aug 2010 10:00:34pm

    It just goes to show, nobody really did trust Labor or Julia when it came down to it. Hopefully the wastage or fluff talk will stop now.

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    • trent:

      21 Aug 2010 10:42:24pm

      It also shows that no one trusted the Libs enough either

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  • Mick:

    21 Aug 2010 10:00:38pm

    With any luck PMG Mk2 (NBN) will be the first extravagent piece of stupidity down the gurgler.

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  • Simon:

    21 Aug 2010 10:02:41pm

    I know it's a choice of the lesser of 2 evils but I'm totally bemused how any could actually vote for a guy like Tony Abbott and what he stands for.

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    • matt:

      21 Aug 2010 10:29:37pm

      I think a demographic breakdown would show a larger percentage of Liberal voters are older people.

      Australia has an ageing population. We're a country where the people voting for the future are the people for whom it wont matter.

      Thus why most comments on the internet seem to be pro labor and anti liberal.

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      • Hamish K:

        21 Aug 2010 11:05:55pm

        I am an "older person". I voted green. Don't stereotype people based on age (or gender, sexual orientation, ethnicity or anything else.) All people have an equal right to have their opinion count.

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  • Owen:

    21 Aug 2010 10:03:08pm

    Australians just could not bear the thought that a woman was going to do a better job than all the "boys in the club"

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    • Margaret:

      21 Aug 2010 10:19:43pm

      I'm a woman and would not vote for Gillard. I dislike Rudd but no Prime Minister deserves to be treated the way he was.

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      • asdfgddsa:

        21 Aug 2010 11:01:18pm

        but it shouldn't be about the whole rudd/gillard thing. it's about the PARTY, not the PEOPLE.

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    • Rowan:

      21 Aug 2010 10:58:53pm

      Owen, you are forgetting that it was the "boys in the club" that gave her the support to give Rudd the flick.

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  • Jlepitre:

    21 Aug 2010 10:05:34pm

    Shouldn't quotation marks surround "Prime Minister" Julia Gillard? I know I didn't vote for that embarrassment!

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    • John:

      21 Aug 2010 10:37:07pm

      No one votes for a PM. You vote for a party who puts forward a candidate for PM.

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    • Kevin V Rusell:

      21 Aug 2010 10:42:46pm

      Of course you didn't vote fo Julia Gillard You don't live in Lalor. In case you are not aware, we don't vote for the PM in Australia. That office is the gift of the Parliament.

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      • Dugong:

        21 Aug 2010 11:06:10pm

        No, it is a gift of the party that wins the election.

        And, as Kevin Rudd found out, a gidt that can also be taken away by the party...

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  • SafeBoy:

    21 Aug 2010 10:14:05pm

    ... sigh ... oh well ... and here I was thinking we were going to get all dull and boring. I guess a hung parliament won't be such a bad thing ... it means that regardless of which of the main parties "gets in" ... they won't be able to have it all their own way ... Negotiation and discussion is a good thing in a democratic country ...

    While typing this up, the seat count has jumped from 69-v-69 ... to 69-v-71 ... Liberal over Labour ... The Independents have come into their own in this election, what with the protest vote against Labor (yes, we are parochial in Qld) in showing their dislike for what they did to Mr Rudd and the Liberal's doing their best to make mileage from that debacle.

    I reckon, that if Labor had waited until February or March 2011 and ridden out the storm, I think the vote would be entirely different ... I could be wrong, but I think Ms Gillard was trying to hard to stay ahead of the pack ...

    Of course, it really matters not what party you vote for ... you will always get a politician. Happy Days ahead ...

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  • Simon:

    21 Aug 2010 10:15:36pm

    I've come to despise both major parties and their arrogance towards the electorate. Sincerely hope the Greens hold the balance of power.

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  • Anne T:

    21 Aug 2010 10:17:29pm


    You are so right. How can a thinking, sentient human being vote for the reincarnated John Howard in the form of the ummhhhher and ahhhhher Tony Abbott. I am currently in the UK where the BBC provided snippets from his campaign and I cringed to think that the rest of the world would associate Australia with such a diabolically ordinary person.

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  • Chris Mann:

    21 Aug 2010 10:19:59pm

    Beware the conservatives

    In the 90's in New Zealand the tories set out to destroy wages with enterprise bargaining. They succeeded hence the average Kiwi earns 30% less in comparison with Australia where there once was wage parity between the two countries. This is what will happen in Australia if the conservatives have their way. The long term effects are now being felt in NZ with genuinely poor people aplenty and those who could have now moved to Australia. They set out to create a low wage low cost society, they only got the first part right

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    • ian:

      21 Aug 2010 10:40:22pm

      The Kiwi's have lower wages because their country is a lot poorer than Australia. They do not have the vast mineral wealth that this country has. Whoever wins this election will be tasked with handing out the few paulty pennies that the foreign owned mines throw at us while they ship their riches back to America and Britain.

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    • alex:

      21 Aug 2010 10:48:46pm

      bollocks kiwi's have come here for years for better wages etc i know because i worked along side them and i'm talking about 25 years ago!!!

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  • Julius:

    21 Aug 2010 10:22:58pm

    Democracy was the winner in this election. For those who say Australia was too macho to allow a woman to run the country I say "humbug". I am elated that a gay guy is holding the balance of power - and I say that as a "straight" guy. Sex played no role.

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    • Disenfranchised:

      21 Aug 2010 10:39:46pm

      I cringe to think that gender might have come into this in any way, but I'm sure it probably did. However, it's probable that there were as many backwards bigots that didn't vote for Julia just because she's a woman, as there were chicks who voted for her purely because she is a woman. I'm glad I didn't vote for either Julia or Tony, because neither of them, along with their parties are fit - in my mind - to run Australia. Unfortunately, one of them has to...

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      • John:

        21 Aug 2010 11:30:51pm

        I think what you meant to say is that you're glad you didn't vote for either Labor or Coalition.

        I find it incredible that an election is viewed as a personality contest between to people.

        An election is about electing a party with the best policies and the strongest team. As we've seen time and time again, a leader is only leader as long as those behind choose to stay behind.

        Policy is created by a team within a party, not a single person. If you're going to vote on the basis of candidate and not party policies then you lose your right to complain when things don't turn out the way you wanted.

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  • Anthony:

    21 Aug 2010 10:30:32pm

    This result reflects the fact that both major parties are out of touch with what Australian people need - namely, policies that cover what I see are the 2 big issues for Australia: creating much needed infrastructure especially in Sydney (wheres the high speed rail that should be covering this vast country of ours??), and health care (esp. aged and mental health). This is what the 2 parties should be looking at but no - its all spin to hang on to power. Now they are both paying the price, neither party has a mandate to govern - and the Greens basically own Labor now.

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    • Dugong:

      21 Aug 2010 11:08:14pm

      Both of your issues are State Government ones. Vote at the next State lelecrtion on those issues.

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  • rocky:

    21 Aug 2010 10:33:56pm

    I tell you we should have none of the above. When none of the above wins we vote again, but none of the prior candidates can stand. We simply must get better candidates and better party policies. It all been bulldust for so long it's a joke. We need parties that are interested in quality legislation for positive community outcomes not crap for re-electing a bunch of hollow, vindictive cronies who just don't care about what the populous want, not what the party devils want.

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  • Hamish K:

    21 Aug 2010 10:36:37pm

    Neither major party can claim endorsement from this, results all over the place, a high Green vote and a clear decision to give the Greens the balance of power in the Senate. I see the result as a rejection of the way politics is played by both major parties. Too much pork barrelling and making decisions based on opinion polling in marginal electorates or pandering to sectional interests. Both major parties are equally guilty of this. Lets introduce the MMP system of proportional voting (as NZ, Scotland and Wales have). Then all views, not just those of marginal electorates would need to be listened to. True this would inevitably lead to minority Government, but perhaps one where all parties would be forced to cooperate for the good of the nation as a whole.

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  • Pitzicada:

    21 Aug 2010 10:41:39pm

    Whomever forms government, they wont be able to do much with the Senate. Another election within 2 years.

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  • Andy:

    21 Aug 2010 10:42:10pm

    Still too close to call.The ALP should rue the day that Kevin Rudd lost out.I'm happy Kevin won in Griffith so well.He would have won this Election comfortably and Maxine McKew is right to say as much.I'm not so sure Julia Gillard can continue on as Leader after this whatever the final outcome.Without those Victoria votes she would definitely have lost.Congratulations to Wyatt Roy for the history he has made in winning Longman especially at such a young age.Well done to all winning candidates and I trust you will all endeavour to put Australia First in all you do.

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  • maxi:

    21 Aug 2010 10:46:48pm

    what a great result for our democracy, that's what i'm hoping for this morning, can't believe it myself.

    But then, my feeling is we gonna heading to polls soon, within in a year, i'd say.

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  • DR:

    21 Aug 2010 10:48:54pm

    Is it just me, or could anyone else see past Ruddy's phoney public exterior? When he gets up and speaks it is obvious he is just saying what he thinks people want to hear. When he's behind closed doors it's his way or the high way. Ref. his large turn around of staff and the media reported abusive incidents he's been involved with.

    It's no surprise he got the arse. Australian's generally put up with a fair amount of crap from people but eventually enough is enough.

    Why do people feel so bad he got the arse? It's no way to treat a PM? But yet it's OK for him to treat people with complete disrespect?

    I just hope he doesn't become Minister for Foreign Affairs. Smithy is doing a great job and if sstill in power should be able to continue building the relationships and networks he's established over the last 3 years.

    Agree (0) Alert moderator

  • Teacher:

    21 Aug 2010 10:50:31pm

    Oh well kids ... time to give back those laptops. Don't worry though, I bet Tony will have another shiny new flag pole for you. We can go out and salute the flag and thank god he's going to stop those boats arriving. You know, trying to improve your education with those laptops and school wide wireless network really was a "waste" - not to mention the new school hall - I bet you guys love standing in the baking sun for assembly. Lucky for you though, if you feel bad can always go and have a chat with the school chaplain - I bet he can sort you out.

    Agree (1) Alert moderator

    • Disenfranchised:

      21 Aug 2010 11:20:54pm

      Since when was good education about shiny new "stuff"?

      If the shiny stuff brings about good education standards and equality of opportunity, great, but why is my local primary school getting a shiny new, architectually marvellous hall when they don't have enough teachers and the rest of the buildings are in disrepair?

      I don't agree with Abbot's take on the debate, but I also don't like how Labor spent the money. My vote for neither of them actually counted this time. It's probably going to be a poison chalice, but at least my conscience is clear today.

      Agree (0) Alert moderator

      • Ant:

        22 Aug 2010 12:04:48am

        Perhaps you just saw the building side of the education revolution (to prop up construction and employment) and didn't hear the promise of another 27,000 teachers that were to come online...

        Agree (0) Alert moderator

        • John O:

          22 Aug 2010 12:29:31am

          Yeah ? Where from? The standard of teachers is lower now then it ever has been. Add incentives on top and you will see what happened in the US happening here with "teachers" helping their students.

          Agree (0) Alert moderator

  • elizabeth spencer:

    21 Aug 2010 10:50:53pm

    Yep - Australia's hanging alright - by the neck and slowly choking!!

    Agree (0) Alert moderator

  • Pedro72:

    21 Aug 2010 10:51:13pm

    Aussies don't like a back stabber. Even amongst pollies. Ms Gillard has done wrong by the country, wrong by her party in her attempts to move Labour further to centre and she needs to take responsibility for her actions, which seemed to be motivated by ego and personal ambition... Not the best interests of us all.
    This election has been a set back for our democracy.... no more popularity contests. Crazily though I think a hung parliament might be just the right outcome to stop the slide down X-Factor road and return us to reasonable democratic debate about the differences in how Australians would like our country to be. We are lucky, we get to vote, but that vote should be based on thought not feeling. I read some of the simple comments posted here , filled with hatred and intolerance and I wonder what people in countries without a vote would think?
    Let us rejoice, for we are young and free!

    Agree (0) Alert moderator

  • SoylentGreen:

    21 Aug 2010 10:51:50pm

    The outcome is moot. Bread and circus campaign, with a masterchef popularity contest kicker.
    These are clear symptoms of a sick empire. A pox on both their houses.

    Agree (0) Alert moderator

  • Monika:

    21 Aug 2010 10:52:39pm

    Polls and commentary alike reflect the general disenchantment with the current political offering. This is not unique to Australia and its political scene. It's interesting to note that exactly the same feeling is sweeping through in other nations. We saw what happened in the UK and other European nations are heading for the ballot boxes this year. In Sweden a state election will be held next month and the public opinion is a carbon copy of what we are seeing here.
    Could it be that it is too hard to take brave/tough long term political decisions in an era of instant media where everything is micro-analysed, justified and defended every second of the day? How much time do politicians actually spend preparing for the daily news sessions as opposed to governing the nation? ...and is it their fault? Would the public admire and approve of a politician brave enough to say 'enough, I have to do some real work now rather than talk about it'?

    Agree (0) Alert moderator

  • mickmick:

    21 Aug 2010 10:53:30pm

    Hi ho, hi ho it's back to the dark ages we go....

    Agree (0) Alert moderator

  • Shaun:

    21 Aug 2010 10:53:37pm

    So if we have a hung parliament, is the governor-general going to exercise her reserve powers?

    Agree (0) Alert moderator

  • Doug:

    21 Aug 2010 10:57:34pm

    Don't understand why no-one is challenging Minchin and Brandis on their assertion that the coalition is the biggest party..

    It's not a party, it seems to consist of the Liberals, the Country Liberal Party, the National Party and the Liberal National Party.

    So doesn't that make Labor the largest party, with the largest share of the national vote?

    Agree (0) Alert moderator

  • Bob:

    21 Aug 2010 10:59:09pm

    Just to let you all know, this election was rigged.

    They'll wait now... get Australian sentiment and then "decide".

    Agree (0) Alert moderator

  • Dean:

    21 Aug 2010 11:00:37pm

    SAD FOR THE NATION. The people who changed allegiance in 2007 are about to be reminded of what they voted against. We'll all pay for their memory loss and gullibility.

    Agree (0) Alert moderator

  • Ture Sjolander:

    21 Aug 2010 11:04:15pm

    A cost full exercise as a result of an obsolete Westminster system.
    Australia has to through out this middle age political systems faster than the light!

    Agree (0) Alert moderator

  • Nick:

    21 Aug 2010 11:13:25pm

    I just hope that if Abbott gets in the Greens and Independents actually do some good and stop things like "WORK CHOICES" which will happen if he gets his way. The people of Australia have spoken and this election says that we aren't really happy with either big party and that clearly shows with the Green vote. So in short, Greens PLEASE PLEASE keep the Big party in line whoever it turns out to be.

    Agree (0) Alert moderator

  • Maccka Tacka:

    21 Aug 2010 11:14:59pm

    I don't think I have ever seen so much drivel in all my life. The comments supporting either one side or the other are just plain garbage. You have all missed the point as usual. The entire electoral system and the quality of our political parties produces what we have had for years now- mediocrity and hypocisy. We don't have a real democracy and anyone who claims we do is just another ignorant dumb Australian.

    Until we have a genuine leader (of any politcal colour) who can construct and clearly communictae a realistic vision for the future, then we shall continue to grovel around pettiness and support "lowest common denominator" (LCD) politics.

    Agree (0) Alert moderator

  • zouzou:

    21 Aug 2010 11:15:04pm

    What a pity for the Greens! With almost 12% of the votes, they only win 1 seat in the new parliament . Had the Greens reached the same result, in most of Europe excluding Britain, they could have ended up with 17-18 eats. In other words, the Greensseat is, at least, 17-22 times dearer than Labour and/or Liberal seats, and up to 20-25 times dearer than a country party CP) seat. CP wins its seats, as is well known, in scantly populated areas.

    As the elction laws, as they are now, favour the bigger parties, I think it would be more democratic if they were changed so that one man one vote becomes a reality.

    Agree (0) Alert moderator

  • Rob:

    21 Aug 2010 11:16:04pm

    If it's an LNP government, I am living in NZ for a couple of years until those bozo's are booted out.... That's if they don't stop my boat from returning to Sydney harbour and the Libs send me off to Naru and lock me in a cage to sew my lips up....

    Agree (0) Alert moderator

    • John O:

      22 Aug 2010 12:31:29am

      After a few years in NZ you won't be able to buy the tickets back. The ETS starting to bite hard over there.

      Agree (0) Alert moderator

  • Ant:

    21 Aug 2010 11:20:22pm

    This election has been a disaster. Now we have not only a Senate unable to make decisions, we now have a Reps that is the same.

    I live in the electorate of Solomon. I voted Tash last and Damien second-last. So my vote is stolen by those I do not want. That's the preferential system that is enforced by law. The only other choice I have is to drop a non-vote in. Do you call that democracy?

    Thanks, and appalled by everything political, Ant.

    Agree (0) Alert moderator

  • Fox:

    21 Aug 2010 11:20:47pm

    I don't know why the Liberals on the various panels are so happy. Even if they succeed in forming a government, the electorate has given control of the senate to the Greens so, thankfully, they won't be able to pass any odious legislation. Batfink is not the sort of politician who is very good at compromise, especially with the Greens. Smarmy Sen Brandeis needn't try gloating that the Greens have split the left vote when we have preferential voting, so most of the votes come back. Besides, the neo-con commentariat spend so much time attacking the Greens because, rightly, the Greens are presenting an alternative to both parties and are a danger to both. I think the electorate have sent a strong protest message against negative, focus-group driven, immoral politics from Liberal and Labor and prevented either of them from governing as they would like.

    Agree (0) Alert moderator

  • Rob:

    21 Aug 2010 11:21:14pm

    To be honest.... look at the LNP core promise... Keep the boats out... the rest is negotiable....

    What was the One Nation core policy???????????

    It wont look healthy debating it at the UN....

    Oh yes,.... We voted for keeping the boats out... ahuh... and forgot entirely about Aboriginal Health...

    We have problems collectively as a nation if this is our core ideal.

    Agree (0) Alert moderator

    • Rob:

      21 Aug 2010 11:48:47pm

      ..and the 'Green Army' will be predominantly Aboriginal because they are unemployed... That IS the policy??? and I dead hear Abbott alude to that notion...

      Great... just great... a supremacist want-to-be PM.

      Agree (0) Alert moderator

      • Ant:

        22 Aug 2010 12:01:07am

        I have to be honest. The One Nation idea of applying a 2% cost on every transaction instead of a general wages tax / GST sounded absolutely brilliant to me. Guess the captains of industry didn't like it too much.

        Agree (0) Alert moderator

      • John O:

        22 Aug 2010 12:33:42am

        How much time has Gillard spent on the ground in Aboriginal communities? Nil.

        Which party looks like it will have its first indigenous rep? The Libs.

        Don't buy the hype - the ALP don't care about the Aboriginals.

        Agree (1) Alert moderator

  • tim g:

    21 Aug 2010 11:22:46pm

    can some one please tell the ABC IT people to fix the swing graphics that Leigh Sales is using. She is an attractive woman but the greens swing of 3.8 is bigger than libs 1.8 - even if it will obscure Liegh's face.

    Agree (0) Alert moderator

  • SoylentGreen:

    21 Aug 2010 11:23:04pm

    And nobody can comment on the real issue of the hung parliment. Nobody counted for anything and was worth voting for. If this is democracy I'd like to try something else. The majors will just sell the mandate they gleen to the highests bidder anyway. I dare any party to try anything on the nose - YOU HAVE NO CLEAR MANDATE.

    Agree (0) Alert moderator

  • sandshoe:

    21 Aug 2010 11:28:51pm

    oh noo
    we're hung
    hung as bro

    Agree (0) Alert moderator

  • Roger:

    21 Aug 2010 11:49:03pm

    To all "illegal immigrants". Make sure you're on the first three boats. Abbott's already adjusted his promise to now be all bar 3 boats.

    Agree (0) Alert moderator

    • Carl:

      22 Aug 2010 12:22:27am

      WHAT?!?!? The results aren't even in and he's already "adjusting" a core promise?
      Wow, let me put on my shocked face.

      Agree (0) Alert moderator

  • Racal:

    21 Aug 2010 11:55:22pm

    Sounds like Tassie's last election results.
    And the good news?
    No politics in the news since!

    Agree (0) Alert moderator

  • Ned Kelly Gang:

    21 Aug 2010 11:57:02pm

    Hung, and not well-hung at that either. What's a man to do when the sheila who shafted the last PM decides she's gonna do a runner for a mandate so soon after her dirty deeds are done dirt cheap? Gimme break for God's sake. Let the man that hangs it all out in his budgie snuggler take swing at the leadership. Jeez ... gotta love the ingluence this has on the attention deficit Gen Y downunder.

    Agree (0) Alert moderator

  • Tashco:

    21 Aug 2010 11:59:11pm

    I am not happy, nothing could be worse for Australia than a hung parliament. Just watch and see, these two cannot work together - they hate each other.

    Agree (0) Alert moderator

  • inspired:

    22 Aug 2010 12:11:56am

    Congratulations Julia! You can sweep Mr Abott off his feet! -Mr Abott go back in your own burrow.

    How many boat people (incoming refugees) do YOU actually see in public? NONE- or say 1000 per 18 million people, a bit of difference!

    IT does NOT help me in the next few years about the boat people at all. Its about jobs, families, education.. GET WITH IT PEOPLES!!!

    Agree (0) Alert moderator

  • Jakke:

    22 Aug 2010 12:13:59am

    Note to Governor-General: more people voted progressive than liberal.
    Signed: a concerned citizen for the welfare of ALL

    Agree (0) Alert moderator

  • Metal Mother:

    22 Aug 2010 12:15:44am

    Wake up Australia are you that stupid. What will the Liberals do for you? What Tony Abbott in his budgie smugglers turning back the boats. Remind me please but there actually never was a policy as to how this was to be done. Why punish Australia for the downfall of Labor in NSW. A hung Parliament or any party that cannot govern in its own right is a problem waiting to happen.
    Best news of the night is that Australia is a least waking up to the fact that The Greens and the Environment actually matter. Bring on the next Labor Federal Election victory please and why are we probably the only country in the world that actually votes with paper and pencil?

    Agree (0) Alert moderator

  • Kellz:

    22 Aug 2010 12:17:41am

    I think its safe to say that Australia is really in the SHIT . . I know that if Labor hadn't back stabbed Kevin Rudd then obviously it would be a different story but in all seriousness who wants to support a government that has done such a horrible thing.

    Then we are left in the hand of the Liberals and they gave us the GST, CRAP is where this country is heading and the idea of this is scary, I worry for my children and what this will mean for them!

    Agree (0) Alert moderator

  • Emma:

    22 Aug 2010 12:19:07am

    Who cares who won Wilson Ironbar Tuckey is out at last no more of his stupid interruptions
    in the house.

    Agree (0) Alert moderator

  • James Bradley:

    22 Aug 2010 12:22:21am

    hallo Martine McKew. Nice to hear from you after all this time. Pity you didn't do anything while you were in politics, but it's always good to go out with a bang. Lucky you've got a media career waiting for you. Maybe if you'd worked a bit harder Labor wouldn't be in the position they are now in. I can't work out if you are the symptom or the problem. But neither is a particularly good place to be. Take your share of the blame, dear, and we might forgive you.

    Agree (0) Alert moderator

  • go_cry:

    22 Aug 2010 12:22:51am

    So Labor buggered it up and now there is a mad scramble for legitimacy.

    We will now watch Labor eat their own yet again,...

    Agree (0) Alert moderator

  • Brad:

    22 Aug 2010 12:24:32am

    I'm a west aussie who runs construction jobs.Heaps of our company's workforce would have losted their jobs after the crash if not for stimulast GOOD HARD WORKING PEOPLE!Now work has picked back up & thats without the help of bleeding heart libs that think the sky will fall without them.

    Agree (0) Alert moderator

  • Javia:

    22 Aug 2010 12:29:14am

    Yey! They might have to learn how to play nicely together. And they'll know now that the population can't tell the difference anyway. Dreaming perhaps, but could they possibly use this as an opportunity to remodel party politics in Australia? Begin making policies for the future, not just the next election? Stop playing games and start acting like people whose decisions have a profound effect on this bit of the planet and sometimes beyond? This doesn't have to be bad news.

    Agree (0) Alert moderator

  • Rob -ACT:

    22 Aug 2010 12:35:06am

    As a Labour voter l have mixed reactions about this result. Firstly, the 'faceless men' will not be vindicated by their actions - for that l am pleased.

    Secondly, the result of a hung Parliament is clearly fascinating.

    Thirdly, I would have preferred an ALP victory (though could still govern) but having the Greens controlling the Senate is the most pleasing result if the Liberals are to govern.

    Agree (0) Alert moderator

  • Mark Whelan:

    22 Aug 2010 12:35:59am

    I do not understand how the people of Australia can have a voting system that makes them choose who they hate more.
    If I understand the prefferencial voting system that is what it is.
    I want him/her but if not I want so and so. If I cant have either I dont want this person to get in but I want to make sure that person does not get in.
    What a messy system.
    I live in a country that has first past the post voting.
    Sure you may need 2 or more times of going to the polls to find out who wins.
    This only costs time and money so there is nothing to worry about.
    Keep an eye on Brazil for the result of our "First Past the Post" Presidential voting.
    We should know before the end of the year.
    It is possible that some may know already but that goes into the field of corruption of the system which is another story completely.
    BTW: Do the sheep still have the vote in Queensland?

    Agree (0) Alert moderator

Comments for this story are closed, but you can still have your say.

Australia Votes 2010

Election Live

The Victorian seat of Dunkley has gone from 'in doubt' to a Liberal retain.


Results for your electorate

State of the Parties

76 seats required for victory

78.5% counted.
Updated Tue Aug 24 03:39PM
Party % Vote Swing Won Predict
Labor 38.0 -5.4 72
Coalition 44.0 +1.9 72
Greens 11.5 +3.7 1
Others 6.5 -0.2 3

Changing Seats

78.5% counted.
Last updated Tue Aug 24 03:39PM
Time Count % Electorate Held By Margin 2PP % Swing Predict
14:12 78.2 La Trobe L/NP 0.5 51.4 1.9% to ALP ALP GAIN
15:45 76.4 McEwen L/NP 0.0 55.6 5.6% to ALP ALP GAIN
14:12 81.4 Solomon ALP 0.2 52.6 2.8% to CLP CLP GAIN
15:45 70.7 Melbourne ALP 4.7 55.7 10.4% to GRN GRN GAIN
15:45 78.1 Bennelong ALP 1.4 53.5 4.9% to LIB LIB GAIN
15:35 82.7 Gilmore * ALP 0.4 54.9 5.4% to LIB LIB WIN
15:45 83.3 Macarthur * ALP 0.5 53.1 3.6% to LIB LIB WIN
13:05 82.9 Macquarie ALP 0.3 50.9 1.2% to LIB LIB GAIN
15:45 74.9 Swan * ALP 0.3 52.2 2.5% to LIB LIB WIN
15:19 75.3 Bonner ALP 4.5 52.7 7.2% to LNP LNP GAIN
13:05 71.0 Brisbane ALP 4.6 50.6 5.2% to LNP LNP GAIN
19:19 76.7 Dawson ALP 2.6 52.1 4.7% to LNP LNP GAIN
16:57 78.5 Dickson * ALP 0.8 54.7 5.4% to LNP LNP WIN
13:05 73.9 Flynn ALP 2.2 51.6 3.8% to LNP LNP GAIN
21:23 75.2 Forde ALP 3.4 51.5 4.8% to LNP LNP GAIN
15:45 81.1 Herbert * ALP 0.0 52.1 2.2% to LNP LNP WIN
18:41 79.7 Leichhardt ALP 4.1 54.1 8.2% to LNP LNP GAIN
15:04 78.9 Longman ALP 1.9 52.0 3.9% to LNP LNP GAIN

Seats In Doubt

78.5% counted.
Last updated Tue Aug 24 03:39PM
Time Count % Electorate Held By Margin 2PP % Swing Predict
15:04 81.0 Denison ALP 15.3 51.2 16.5% from ALP IND AHEAD
15:04 78.2 Hasluck ALP 0.8 50.3 1.2% to LIB LIB AHEAD

ABC News Online Investigative Unit

The ABC News Online Investigative Unit encourages whistleblowers, and others with access to information they believe should be revealed for the public good, to contact us.

Election Live

76 seats required for victory

Julia Gillard



Tony Abbott



78.5% counted.
Updated Tue Aug 24 03:39PM
Party % Vote Swing Won Predict
Labor 38.0 -5.4 72
Coalition 44.0 +1.9 72
Greens 11.5 +3.7 1
Others 6.5 -0.2 3
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