Updates appear in reverse chronological order.
Ignominious End For John Howard
10.05pm – John Howard has become only the second prime minister in Australian history to lose an election and his seat. Whilst final results are not in, and there are many absentee, pre-poll and postal votes still to come, it now appears very unlikely that Howard can retain Bennelong. There has been a 5.24% swing against the Prime Minister and Maxine McKew currently leads on 51.11% of the two-party vote.
The only other prime minister to lose his seat was Stanley Melbourne Bruce in 1929. Bruce’s government was defeated over industrial relations changes and Bruce lost the Melbourne electorate of Flinders. He regained the seat at the next election. By contrast, Howard’s political career is now over.
Ministers Topple As Howard Government Falls
10.00pm – Four Howard government ministers look set to lose their seats as the coalition government was tossed from government in today’s election. Mal Brough, Peter Dutton, Gary Nairn and Jim Lloyd will likely join the Prime Minister, John Howard, as ministerial casualties of the election defeat.
Turnbull Triumphs In Wentworth; Challenge To Costello?
9.55pm – The Environment Minister, Malcolm Turnbull, has survived a challenge in his Sydney electorate of Wentworth. Polling 49.3% of the primary vote, and 53% of the two-party vote, Turnbull will now be subject to speculation that he will challenge Peter Costello for the Opposition leadership.
Rudd To Become Nation’s 26th Prime Minister As Howard Heads For Defeat In Bennelong; West Puts Brake On ALP Gains; Queensland Moves Against Coalition; Labor 2-Party Vote At 53.5%
9.00pm – The Australian Labor Party has been returned to federal government for the first time since 1996, securing around 53.5% of the two-party-preferred vote. The ALP will have around 85 seats in the new House of Representatives.
The incumbent prime minister, John Howard, looks set to lose his seat of Bennelong, although this is not yet certain. Labor’s Maxine McKew is polling around 51.7% of the two-party vote.
In Tasmania, the ALP has now won Bass and Braddon, giving it all 5 seats in the state.
In Victoria, the ALP has picked up Deakin and Corangamite, but is narrowly behind in La Trobe.
In New South Wales, in addition to Bennelong, the ALP appears to have won Dobell, Eden-Monaro, Lindsay, Parramatta, Robertson and Page.
In Queensland, the ALP has won Bonner, Dawson, Dickson, Leichhardt, Moreton and Longman. It is ahead in Flynn and Petrie.
In South Australia, the ALP has won Kingston, Makin and Wakefield.
In Western Australia, the ALP is behind in Cowan, although counting is at a very early stage. After early reports suggesting a swing to the Liberals, the ALP’s Gary Gray appears to be holding Brand. The ALP remains in the race in Hasluck, but is behind in Swan.
Regardless of what happens in Western Australia, it is clear that the overall ALP majority will allow it to form government and deliver Labor governments in every Federal, State and Territory jurisdiction in Australia.
ALP Storming To Victory
8.00pm – The ALP is 3 seats short of claiming victory in the election with no results yet available from Queensland. The ALP has won Braddon in Tasmania. It has also won the Victorian seats of Corangamite, Deakin and La Trobe. In NSW, the ALP has gained Dobell, Eden-Monaro, Lindsay, Page, Parramatta and Robertson. It looks set to also claim the Prime Minister’s seat of Bennelong. In South Australia, the ALP has picked up Makin and Wakefield. Nicole Cornes has been defeated in Boothby. The ALP is threatening Christopher Pyne in Sturt.
Labor Leading In Page
7.22pm – The ALP’s Janelle Saffin is ahead of the Nationals candidate in Page with 52.15% of the vote. The seat is held by Ian Causley who is retiring. Labor’s Belinda Neal is marginally ahead in Robertson. Labor’s David Bradbury is well ahead in Lindsay.
The overall percentage of the vote counted is still small but the trend is clear. As Queensland and South Australian results start to come in over the next 30 minutes, the result will become more clear but it is obvious that the government has been defeated.
McKew Leads Howard In Bennelong; Small Count Only
7.20pm – Maxine McKew is leading John Howard 51.66% to 48.34%, but only 1.21% of the vote has been counted.
Labor Gains In Tasmania
7.15pm – The ALP has substantial leads in the seats of Braddon, Denison, Franklin and Lyons. The Liberal member for Bass, Michael Ferguson, is marginally ahead in Bass with 4.2% of the vote counted.
Labor On Track For Return To Government
7.00pm – The ALP is receiving a swing of between 4 and 5 per cent in early counting. There are no results in yet from Queensland or South Australia. The ALP looks to be picking up Bass and Braddon, although figures are still early. In Victoria, the ALP is ahead in Corangamite, Deakin and La Trobe. There is a swing to the ALP in McMillan. In NSW, the ALP is doing well in Gilmore, Bennelong, Robertson, Cowper and Hume.
The former Prime Minister, Bob Hawke, has said that the election has a similar feel to his 1983 victory over the Fraser coalition government.
State Of Play
6.25pm – The ALP had 60 seats in the old Parliament and needs to win 76 to be able to form government. There were 87 coalition members and 3 independents.
Reports Of ALP Optimism In Safer Coalition Seats
6.20pm – The ABC reports that the ALP is now looking to the next tier of seats for wins tonight, instancing the Queensland National Party seat of Dawson, held by De-Anne Kelly with a margin of 10%.
Stephen Smith Predicts Labor Win By 20 Seats
6.15pm – Stephen Smith, the Shadow Minister for Education, has predicted a Labor win by 20 seats. Smith says the ALP primary vote will be around 53-54%, that 12 marginal seats will fall in the blink of an eye and that the party will need to find 6-8 extra seats to counteract a possible swing to the coalition in Western Australia.
12% Of Voters Decided In Last 4 Days Says Poll
5.55pm – The Sky News AusPoll says 5% of voters decided how to vote today, 7% decided in the last three days, 6% decided in the last week, 12% decided in the last month, and 69% decided before that.
Howard To Lose Bennelong Says Poll
5.45pm – The Prime Minister, John Howard, will lose his seat of Bennelong by 53-47, according to the Sky News exit poll. The pollsters claim a large sample size in support of their statistics.
Eden-Monaro To Be Won By Labor 58-42 Says Poll
5.35pm – The Sky exit poll says Labor will win Eden-Monaro by 58-42. This is the seat regarded as a bellwether. It has been won by the party which formed governement at every election since 1972.
Exit Poll Gives Election To Labor
5.30pm – A Sky News exit poll says the election is likely to be won by Kevin Rudd’s Labor Party by a two-party-preferred margin of 53% to 47%, a swing of approximately 7%, and a possible gain of 30 seats by the Opposition.