Updated | 'We smashed them' says Craig Kelly after easily retaining Hughes for Liberal Party


Re-elected Liberal MP for Hughes, Craig Kelly, has given a rousing victory speech, praising the efforts of party volunteers in "smashing" the concerted opposition against them

"We weren't taking on the Labor Party," Mr Kelly told supporters who gathered at Woronora River RSL Club.

Craig Kelly's victory speech to supporters after retaining Hughes. Video: The Leader

"We were taking on Labor, Greens and GetUp.

"We had three teams against us and we smashed them all."

Mr Kelly said it appeared the Liberal Party's final, two-party preferred vote would be about 60 per cent.

"To put that in context, when I first ran for this seat the margin was 0.5 per cent," he said.

"We moved this seat further along the pendulum than any other seat in the nation in the last decade."

Mr Kelly said he was saddened at the defeat of "my good mate" Tony Abbott.

"But, he is like a champion footballer - he has taken all the hits in his seat," Mr Kelly said.

"He took all that opposition. They put all their resources, money and people to attack him and, by doing that, they left gaps elsewhere on the field.

"And those gaps we are seeing those results roll into night - seats we really didn't think were in play are in play.

"I think we are a really good chance to win this election and it is because of those hits that Tony took that created the opportunities for those other seats across the nation."

Mr Kelly thanked the voters in Hughes "who have given me the opportunity to represent them for another three years - hopefully in another Scott Morrison Liberal coalition government."

7.50pm: The seat of Hughes will be held by the Liberal Party for another three years.

While not officially claiming victory, sitting member Craig Kelly said, "Fifty per cent of the vote has been counted and there appears to be little difference from the last election".

"On that basis, it is clear that it is almost impossible for the Labor Party to win."

7.45pm: Scott Morrison has gained a 5.7 per cent swing in Cook, with a projected two-party preferred vote of more than 70 per cent.

7.35pm: Craig Kelly says "it is early days but it appears like there is a swing to us in Hughes".

"A lot of votes still have to be counted, including an unusually large number of pre-polls and we are unsure how they pan out".

7.20pm: Craig Kelly looks likely to have retained Hughes for the Liberal Party.

With more than 13,000 votes counted, Mr Kelly has 50.43 per cent of the primary vote, with Labor's Diedree Steinwall polling only 32.9 per cent.

The ABC website has predicted the Liberal Party swill retain the seat.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison holds a commanding lead in Cook.


Prime Minister Scott Morrison received a good luck kiss from wife Jenny as the couple cast their votes at Lilli Pilli Public School.

The couple, who were accompanied by their daughters, Abigail and Lily , faced anti-Adami coalmining protesters as they left the polling booth.

Mr Morrison said it was "good to be home".

"I make no assumptions about tonight. I don't take anyone's support for granted," he said.

The couple had to vote absentee because their present address is Kirribilli House.


Prime Minister Scott Morrison is returning to Sutherland Shire on Saturday afternoon as he awaits the nation's decision on whether his government should be returned.

Mr Morrison spent the morning in Tasmania in an eleventh hour blitz of the marginal seats of Bass and Braddon.

On his arrival in Sydney, he will head for the shire where he will vote in his electorate of Cook before visiting his parents Marion and John.

At least some of the shire's polling booths were not as busy as in previous elections, according to party volunteers handing out how-to-vote cards and P&C volunteers on cake stalls and BBQs.

They believed it was due to the enormous number of votes cast before election day.

Labor leader Bill Shorten, who is favoured to be giving the victory speech on Saturday night, voted in his home state of Melbourne where he said he was confident Labor would win.

Mr Shorten said, if Labor Party gained office, the new cabinet could be sworn in as early as next week.