Bill Shorten concedes defeat and steps down as Labor leader
Bill Shorten took to the stage in Melbourne to concede a devastating loss for the ALP in the federal election.
"Without wanting to hold out any false hope, while there are still millions of votes to count and important seats yet to be finalised, it is obvious that Labor will not be able to form the next government and so in the national interest a short while ago I called Scott Morrison to congratulate him
"I wish Scott Morrison good fortune and good courage in the service of our great nation."
He said now that the contest was over Labor voters had the responsibility of respecting the result to bring the nation together.
"However that task will be 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," Mr Shorten said.
Where is Bill Shorten?
11.24pm It's been an awfully long time since the election was called against Labor and yet Bill Shorten is still to officially concede.
It reminds me of 2016 when a very sulky Malcolm Turnbull took an eternity to make his speech.
Meanwhile at Labor's election night party, the mood is worsening.
Scott Morrison set to remain as Australia's prime minister
9.30pm: ABC chief elections analyst Antony Green believes Scott Morrison will be returned as prime minister.
"At this stage, we think the Morrison government has been re-elected," Green said.
"We can't see an alternative to a Morrison government in the numbers we're seeing at the moment.
It seems unlikely Labor can win the 2019 federal election, barring a huge reversal of the national swing in the unprecedented number of pre-poll votes lodged, which means Scott Morrison will be returned as prime minister.
What remains is unclear is whether he will govern in minority or majority.
"We can't say whether the Government will be in a majority or minority, but we're certainly seeing enough numbers to say that the Coalition will end up with more seats than Labor," Green said.
What will the huge turnout for pre-polling mean?
Labor frontbencher Penny Wong says the four million pre-polls could hold the key to the election.
"One of the things that is going to be interesting and difficult is: What is the consequence of the very large pre-poll which we were talking about as we started?" Wong told the ABC.
"Four million plus.
"It may be that they reflect the results today.
"It may be that they reflect people who voted earlier because they'd made their mind up and that might be a good or bad thing for an Opposition."
Pre-polling votes have historically favoured the Coalition.
But those ballots may yet save Labor, frontbencher Anthony Albanese has said.
"One of the things I found, anecdotally as someone who who stood on a pre-poll, it was young people," Albanese told 9News.
"Because of these things, they knew where to vote, how to vote. It was the tech savvy people in my electorate."
Mr Albanese said the same-sex marriage survey would have led to more young people getting on the electoral votes.
He noted that the pre-poll figures that were just announced in the battleground seat of Macquarie that favoured Labor by 12 per cent in the biggest polling station.
Palmer's $50m campaign a waste of cash
Clive Palmer's $50 million bid to be elected to Parliament appears to have failed, attracting just 3.4 per cent of the vote on the Queensland Senate ballot at the current count.
But Malcolm Roberts, the One Nation senator who was forced out over a dual citizenship debacle, is looking likely to return.
The senator who replaced Mr Roberts, Fraser Anning, has just 1.4 per cent of the vote.
In Tasmania, Jacqui Lambie may return to Parliament in the sixth spot.
The Greens are looking likely to retain a seat in every state, though Western Australia results are yet to be counted.
At the current count, no other minor parties are looking like to be elected.
Mr Palmer's highly touted candidate in Herbert, former Origin star Greg Dowling, came sixth, outpolled by One Nation, Katter's Australian Party and the Greens.
- Nick Pearson, 9News.com.au
It looks like we could be in for a long night
Has Scott Morrison achieved what many thought was impossible?
Is the Coalition set for a shock victory party, as indicators show they might just hang onto the government?
What has gone wrong for Labor? Many seats in Queensland have not fallen the way pollsters predicted, and across the state Labor is down three per cent on the last election.
One Liberal source has told the Sydney Morning Herald that Labor have done them a huge favour by retaining Bill Shorten as their leader.
"I really think the Coalition is going to win - I can't believe it!" The source added: "Albo would have wiped the floor with us."
And that's the key. Tonight is all about Bill Shorten and his failure to deliver a Labor landslide that many were predicting.
Former foreign minister Julie Bishop said ScoMo ran a perfect Coalition campaign against Shorten.
"He has been unrelenting and very energetic," Bishop said.
Labor turns its hopes to WA
Labor frontbencher Penny Wong says Western Australia may clinch the election for her party following a collapse of its vote in Queensland.
Depending on results in Western Australia it appeared possible the Morrison government may scrape back into office.
Senator Wong told the ABC that Queensland had been "tough ... for a fair while" for federal Labor.
But she said on a visit to Western Australia last week, voters expressed a wish that "'we don't want [the election result] to be over before it gets to us.' That's probably the case".
Liberal diehards toast election in Sydney
Liberal Party faithful are in a jubilant mood as they toast the federal election in Sydney.
Dozens of diehards have begun filling the Sofitel Wentworth to watch the early results roll in, with Tony Abbott an early casualty, but surprisingly strong figures in other key contests across the country.
An enormous Australian flag adorns a wall behind the stage, flanked on either side by bright blue Liberal banners carrying the slogan: "Building our economy. Building our future."
Prime Minister Scott Morrison will address the crowd later on Saturday night.
But for the meantime, all eyes are glued to big screens revealing poor results in Victoria, Queensland holding firm, and Tasmania showing some promise for coalition gains.
A big cheer erupted when word came in that Liberal candidate Dave Sharma was leading independent MP Kerryn Phelps in the race for Wentworth.
Coalition now look like a good bet
Ladbrokes now have the Coalition as the favourites to be sworn in as the next government.
The Coalition is now at $1.55 odds, with Labor out to $2.35.
The remarkable turnaround comes as Labor sees disappointing results coming in in western Sydney, Queensland and Tasmania.
Two days ago betting agency Sportsbet was so confident in a Labor win that they paid out early.
At the current count, a nailbiter and a hung parliament are quite likely.
Uh oh ... this is not going as planned for Labor
Time for a stocktake.
This was supposed to be a landslide, unloseable for Labor. But Labor MPs have told right throughout this campaign that the uninspiring Bill Shorten was a huge drag on Labor's vote.
A nightmare could be unfolding for the opposition.
In the last few minutes, the numbers are falling the Coalition's way despite expectations of a Labor win, albeit narrowly.
- Latika Bourke, smh.com.au
Labor's 'disappointing' Sydney result
Labor is recording a disappointing result in western Sydney, losing one seat, and failing to pick up a few they had eyes on.
The Liberals are set to pick up the seat of Lindsay, centred around Penrith, and are neck-and-neck in the seat of Macquarie, which includes Richmond, Windsor and the Blue Mountains.
And they have fallen well short in Reid, the vacant inner-west seat Labor had high hopes for.
"We won't win Reid tonight, we won't win Banks tonight, and those were seats we were hopeful of winning," Labor frontbencher Anthony Albanese said.
"Our optimism there was based upon the Craig Laundy factor. He was retiring, he was outstanding as a local member, a real knockabout bloke, very popular.
"We thought him leaving would leave a big gap that we hoped Sam Crosby would be able to run through."
Shadow Treasurer Chris Bowen saw a massive swing against him in his previously safe seat of McMahon.
- Nick Pearson, 9News.com.au
Swing puts Labor win in doubt
A swing towards the Coalition in Queensland and a surge of support for One Nation may make a Labor victory tonight far from a sure thing.
Labor is currently at risk of losing the seats of Blair and Longman west of Brisbane, and the LNP is well ahead on the current count in the Townsville seat of Herbert.
A swing to the LNP in Queensland may make the ALP's path to victory more difficult.
Labor may also lose the seats of Lindsay and Braddon, in western Sydney and Tasmania respectively.
But they look set to pick up the NSW South Coast seat of Gilmore.
- Nick Pearson, 9News.com.au
Tony Abbott loses Warringah
Tony Abbott has lost his seat Warringah.
Our number-crunchers have called the seat for Independent Zali Steggall. Her supporters are cheering, and drinking.
There'll be some sore heads in Manly tonight.
And I've got a source in the Qantas Lounge in London who tells me there was large cheering at Heathrow as it was announced the former prime minister has been given the boot.
There's absolutely no doubt that the departure of Mr Abbott from politics will greatly help Scott Morrison guide the party to a more centrist position on this issue.
Asked if Tony Abbott was pulling the strings on Peter Dutton's failed coup against Scott Morrison, Ms Bishop "Yes, without doubt," Julie Bishop said.
How long will it take to count the votes?
More than 4.7 million votes were cast ahead of today, thumping previous records for early voting.
It's undoubtedly going to have an impact on when we'll know the outcome from the more than 16 million votes Australians will cast in the election.
Historically, first preference results for some small districts are usually finalised from about 8:00pm, with the bulk of the remaining districts finalised after 9pm.
Then, election officials in each polling booth will determine the two-candidate preferred count. It's this count that determines who wins the seat.
The earliest results that will come in are likely to be from small polling places, which tend to be in regional seats, meaning the Liberal and National parties should fare well in early results.
Expect Labor to do better when the bigger metropolitan polling booths start reporting results.
Seats with the smallest numbers of candidates are also likely to come in sooner than electorates with big fields.
Morrison prays pre-poll votes favour him
Prime Minister Scott Morrison is keeping the faith as he stares down a likely election defeat, hoping that millions of Australians who voted early have sided with the coalition.
All signs suggest the coalition will be sent packing after a Labor win tonight
"I think it will be a long night. I've always said this election will be close," Mr Morrison told Sunrise on Network Seven.
"Five weeks ago people weren't saying that, but I've always known it to be the case."
Mr Morrison noted more than four million Australians had pre-polled across the country before election day, setting a new record.
He hopes they have made their early decision in favour of the coalition.
"There is a clear choice," he said.
Exit poll indicates 'landslide' for Labor, Bishop says
Talking about the exclusive exit poll, former Foreign Minister Julie Bishop noted such a result would be huge for Labor.
"In fact, the 2007 election was considered a landslide for Labor, on 52 per cent," she told Channel 9.
"It is not like state elections, where you see huge swings. 52 per cent would be an outstanding result if it was achieved."
But she noted that pre-poll voters would not be included in the exit poll.
"Of course it is a troubling exit poll, but the pre-polling then becomes exceedingly important," Ms Bishop said.
"The pre-polling generally goes the way of the Coalition."
Deputy Labor Leader Tanya Plibersek said the exit poll showed "a good result for us".
"We have only once achieved a two-party preferred vote of 52 per cent, and that was the 2007 election with Kevin Rudd," she said.
"If we get to 51 per cent, that is a good result."
It's 6pm and the polls have closed and the nation has had its say.
Now it's time to sit back and let the counting get underway and get your election party started.
Despite a record number of pre-poll votes being submitted before today, the official count could not begin before the clock ticked over to 6pm.
Labor in box seat for victory
An exit poll of booths across the nation points to Labor claiming the federal election on the back of a sharp fall in primary support for the Coalition across Victoria and NSW.
The Sydney Morning Herald reports that the exclusive YouGov Galaxy poll of more than 3300 voters in 33 separate booths showed Labor ahead of the Coalition 52-48 on a two party preferred basis.
It is in line with recent Ipsos, Newspoll and Essential opinion polls which all showed Labor leading the Coalition.
In Victoria, where the Liberal Party is at risk of losing up to six seats, the Coalition vote has slumped.
The poll found Labor's primary vote at 41 per cent, a 5.4 percentage point lift on the 2016 election, with the Coalition's combined primary down by 4.8 percentage points.
In NSW, the poll shows a 2.5 percentage point swing to Labor in two-party preferred terms to 52-48.
The Coalition's primary vote has slipped 3.3 percentage points while Labor's has improved by 3.1 points to 40 per cent.
The poll found little change in Queensland where the LNP and Labor are fighting over a string of marginal seats.
Top issues for voters
The exclusive Nine YouGov Galaxy exit poll found the most important issues for voters were health and Medicare (38 per cent), the cost of living (35 per cent) and climate change (34 per cent).
The choice between Bill Shorten and Scott Morrison was the deciding issue for 26 per cent of voters.
Education was the top issue for 27 per cent of voters, followed by housing affordability and negative gearing (24 per cent).
Changes to franking credits was the most important issue for just 10 per cent of voters.
What about the Bob Hawke factor?
The death of Bob Hawke overwhelmed the news coverage of the final day of the election campaign.
But did the obituaries and tributes to the late prime minister sway voters towards voting Labor?
"Certainly the people in the Labor Party would like to think that is the case," Nine Political Editor Chris Uhlmann said.
"But it is one of those things that will be impossible to measure.
"I assume the Labor Party will win, and if they win, was there an effect?"
Bishop was Coalition's best chance, poll says
The Nine YouGov Galaxy poll suggested former foreign minister Julie Bishop would have given the Coalition the best chance of winning the election.
Ms Bishop drew 30 per cent of the vote, narrowly ahead of Scott Morrison (27 per cent).
Deposed prime minister Malcolm Turnbull was the preferred leader for 17 per cent of respondents.
Peter Dutton, whose challenge of Mr Turnbull prompted last August's leadership spill, proved deeply unpopular with voters.
Only two per cent of voters regarded him as the best choice to lead the Liberal Party.
Another 24 per cent of voters were uncommitted.
Bishop said that no one can criticise the way Scott Morrison has run the Coalition campaign.
"He has been unrelenting and very energetic."