LOCAL ELECTION 2013 COVERAGE
10.48pm: Labor's Stephen Jones will retain Throsby having polled 45 per cent of the vote in today's federal election. With 75 per cent of the vote counted, Mr Jones was well ahead of Liberal Larissa Mallinson who had received 27.6 per cent of votes. Both major parties saw swings against them with high-profile National Party candidate Gary 'Angry' Anderson picking up 10.6 per cent of first preferences, a gain of more than five per cent for the party.
10.18pm: Tony Abbott has claimed victory in today's federal election. ‘‘I now look forward to forming a government that is competent, that is trustworthy,’’ he told a packed crowd at the Liberal Party function at the Four Seasons Hotel in Sydney.
10pm: Prime Minister Kevin Rudd has quit the leadership of the Labor party after today's election defeat.
Speaking at his election night party at the Gabba, in Brisbane, Mr Rudd said: ‘‘There comes a time when you know that you’ve given it your all and the time for the party to further renew its leadership for the future.
‘‘For me that time is now.
‘‘My responsibility has been to maintain Labor as a fighting force for the future so that we can unite behind the next leader of our party,’’ he said.
Former leader Julia Gillard tweeted: ''A tough night for Labor. But a spirited fight by Kevin, Albo, George + the whole team. My thoughts are with you all. JG''
9.54pm: Prime Minister Kevin Rudd has conceded defeat in the election, but says Labor had fought the good fight.‘‘Geez I thought we’d lost,’’ a smiling Mr Rudd told the cheering crowd at the Labor function at the Gabba in Brisbane. In conceding defeat he congratulated Liberal leader Tony Abbott and wished him well. Mr Rudd said despite the ‘‘prophets of doom’’, Labor had remained a viable fighting force for the future and retained all its seats in Queensland and all cabinet ministers.
9pm: Anyone who thought Tony Abbott was unelectable has been proven foolish, former prime minister John Howard says. Mr Howard said Mr Abbott will do a fantastic job as prime minister. ‘‘All those ridiculous people who said he was unelectable should understand how foolish they were to underestimate him,’’ Mr Howard told the Seven Network.
8.48pm: Labor frontbencher Jason Clare says Kevin Rudd should go as Labor leader, saying it’s time to put the Rudd and Gillard era behind the party.‘‘My view is it’s time for generational change,’’ Mr Clare told the Ten Network.‘‘We need to put the Rudd and the Gillard era behind us.’’
8.39pm: About57 per cent of first preference votes have now been counted in Throsby. Stephen Jones is on track to retain the seat having attracted 23,851 votes, ahead of Larissa Mallinson (Liberal Party) with 12,836 and National Party candidate Gary 'Angry' Anderson with 5293 votes. On a two-party preferred basis, Mr Jones has 59.19 per cent of the vote compared to Ms Mallinson, a swing away from Labor of 2.92 per cent.
8.32pm: Former prime minister Julia Gillard’s old seat of Lalor looks likely to retained by the new Labor candidate Joanne Ryan. Ms Gillard used Twitter to send her congratulations, saying Ms Ryan would be a strong voice ‘‘for a proud community we both love’’.
8.13pm: Former Queensland Senator Barnaby Joyce has claimed victory for the Nationals in the NSW seat of New England. A boisterous Mr Joyce thanked his staff and said ‘‘it was an incredibly humbling experience’’. Mr Joyce resigned from the upper house to contest New England which had been held by Independent MP Tony Windsor since 2001. Mr Windsor did not contest the election.
8.12pm: Voting has ended across the country, with polls now closed in Western Australia. Voting stopped across the eastern states at 6pm, with SA and the NT closing half an hour later. Exit polls showed a clear win to the Liberal-National coalition, and many Labor commentators have conceded.
7.50pm: Liberal candidate Larissa Mallinson is on track to trim the margin of ALP sitting member Stephen Jones in Throsby, but Jones remains well ahead on a two-party preferred basis with almost 33 per cent of votes counted.
AEC updates show Jones holding 60.29 per cent, a fall of 1.82 per cent on last election with Mallinson gathering 39.71 per cent on two-party preferred.
Good results for PUP candidate May Lee King, who attracted 1688 of first preference votes, and Gary 'Angry' Anderson whose 3,829 votes indicates a 5.24 per cent improvement for the Nationals, have created interest in Throsby.
7.41pm: The Liberal-National coalition is on track to hold more than 90 seats in the 150-seat House of Representatives, after a number of Labor MPs conceded the party had lost government. The Rudd Labor government was looking at a national swing against the party of 3.4 per cent. The Australian Electoral Commission has listed the Labor seats of Braddon (Tasmania), Lyons (Tasmania) and Page (NSW) as Coalition wins. Labor was listed as potentially gaining Leichhardt (Queensland) from the LNP. Nationally, Labor was in the lead in nine seats while the LNP was leading in 19 seats, with 122 still to be determined.
7.38pm: Clive Palmer has accused the Australian Electoral Commission of influencing the election result, and has flagged a possible High Court challenge.
Mr Palmer says the AEC is ‘‘openly predicting’’ the results of the election, and possibly influencing the election results in Western Australia and in South Australia, where booths are open after east coast venues have closed.
7.28pm: The federal Coalition will win government, a number of Labor MPs have conceded. Defence minister Stephen Smith was the first to admit Labor would lose at 6.05pm - minutes after polling booths closed in eastern Australia.
‘‘The government will be defeated tonight,’’ Mr Smith, who is retiring at this election, told ABC television on Saturday.
Labor would need to start rebuilding its stocks with a new generation of MPs, he added.
Labor Speaker Anna Burke said she had been feeling Labor wasn’t going to get over the line for the past two weeks.‘‘The Liberal Party will win this election,’’ she said.
7.25pm: Veteran Liberal senator Bill Heffernan has compared the mood in the Coalition camp to that in 1996, when John Howard became prime minister. Speaking 30 minutes after the end of voting in eastern Australia, Senator Heffernan said the feeling was reminiscent of that historic landslide win.
‘‘I recall at this stage in 1996 there was a wistful expectation or a hope that we were going into government,’’ Senator Heffernan said at the Liberals’ election night function in Sydney.
‘‘I well recall being with prime minister Howard before he became prime minister at the Intercontinental Hotel, quite nervous.
‘‘I guess Tony Abbott would be in the same position now.’’
7.12pm: Counting is well underway in Throsby where about 15 per cent of first preference votes have been counted. Early figures indicate a strong performance by high-profile National Party candidate Gary 'Angry' Anderson, whose 1,430 votes represents 10.37 per cent of votes counted and an increase of almost seven per cent for the Nationals on last election. Sitting member, Labor's Stephen Jones, is polling at 50.51 per cent ahead of Liberal Party candidate Larissa Mallinson, who has received 3008 of first preferences. Anderson's strong showing appears to have affected both Liberal and Labor candidates, with Mallinson's 21.81 per cent indicating a negative swing of 4.39 per cent while Jones has experienced a swing away of 6.13 per cent based on votes counted.
6.12pm: Polling booths have closed across the eastern states, with exit polls are showing a clear win to Tony Abbott’s Liberal-National Coalition in the federal election.
But the Coalition is expected to fall short of a majority in the Senate. A Roy Morgan-Ten exit poll gives the coalition 43 per cent of the primary vote - a fraction short of the result in 2010.
Labor’s primary vote is 33.5 per cent - down 4.5 per cent on the 2010 result.
The biggest change from 2010 is the rises of the Palmer United Party, which has picked up five per cent of the primary vote across the country and nine per cent in Queensland.
6.05pm: Supporters of Independent candidate Paul Matters were determined to get his message across to voters today. Among the flyers handed out at Throsby booths was a how to vote handout printed in Macedonian.
4.35pm The Coalition is on track to return to government in a landslide, according to the The Sky News/Newspoll exit poll.
At 4pm the poll showed the opposition will win 97 seats, a 25-seat gain, while Labor will lose 21 seats and have only 51 MPs in parliament. It says the only crossbenchers to keep their seats would be Tasmanian Andrew Wilkie and Queenslander Bob Katter.
Greens MP Adam Bandt is predicted to lose the seat of Melbourne.The two-party preferred result, based on marginal seats in NSW and Queensland, gave the Coalition 53 per cent of the vote to Labor’s 47 per cent.
3.47pm Activitists in Tony Abbott’s electorate of Warringah knitted a giant pair of budgie smugglers to send a unique election day message to the Coalition leader.
'‘Budgie smugglers more threat to Australia than people smugglers,’’ said the writing on their four-metre banana hammock.The budgie smugglers were unfurled in front of the polling booths at St Mary’s Catholic Church hall in Manly. The Knit Your Revolt! group was forced to move across the road after pressure from volunteers.
Group spokeswoman Casey Jenkins said using a traditionally feminine craft to make a political statement against Mr Abbott was important.‘‘We want to draw attention to Abbott’s nature and attitude towards women, and the general attitude towards women that seems to be prevalent in the political sphere,’’ she said.
2.55pm Ms Tonkin is in Throsby chatting with voters. She met Krystyna (surname withheld) who admitted she still hadn't made up her mind where to put her vote this afternoon, despite being only moments away from casting it. "I'd definitely consider myself an undecided voter," she said as she made her way into the Albion Park primary school polling booth. "The major issues for me are health care, disability care and jobs. "But I still haven't made up my mind. "I see pros and cons, good and bad, in both [major] parties, which has made me quite undecided."
2.53pm PM Kevin Rudd arrived to vote in Brisbane, only to find himself labelled a ‘‘dictator’’ by refugee advocates and the family of a victim of the pink batts insulation debacle. Protesters against the federal government’s so-called Papua New Guinea Solution for asylum seekers hurled abuse at Mr Rudd.‘‘Stop scapegoating refugees, you heartless bastard,’’ a protester yelled at Mr Rudd as he tried to make his way up to the polling booths.The protesters chanted: ‘‘Say it loud, say it clear, refugees are welcome here.’’
2.47pm Mercury reporter Shannon Tonkin is now in Throsby. She caught up with Darren Bartley, who has always thought of himself as a "politically minded" sort of guy. But he never believed he'd one day be standing out the front of a polling booth spruiking policies. Yet that's exactly where the Albion Park resident found himself today, handing out pamphlets for Nationals Throsby candidate Gary 'Angry' Anderson at Albion Park High School this morning, and at the primary school this afternoon. "He's a really genuine guy and I can really relate to the things he stands for," Mr Bartley said. "I believe if he's elected he will have a voice that will be heard in parliament." Mr Bartley said described Mr Anderson as having 'the personal touch'. "I've never been able to relate to any other politicians but I can with him," he said.
2.41pm Gary 'Angry' Anderson has thanked all his helpers today. He tweeted a special thanks to Bowral pair Doc and 89-year-old Muriel Stewart, who were at Bowral Memorial Hall this afternoon.
2.33pm ALP supporters have been spotted working hard at polling stations in Cringila, Berkeley, Primbee and Windang. They are decked out in red & white t-shirts & handing out flyers.
2.31pm Stephen Jones is on the move again - this time he's at Dapto Ribbonwood Centre.
2.30pm Sportsbet has decided the Coalition is likely to win at least 20 seats, increasing its position from 72 seats to at least 92 seats. It has low odds of $1.85 for the Coalition to win 91 of 100 seats. The odds drift out to $2.35 for the Coalition to pick up 100 or more seats.
1.56pm Stephen Jones just tweeted that he has been busy catching up with supporters at Albion Park Rail Public School.
1.40pm Have you enjoyed a particularly tasty sausage sizzle at your polling booth? Vote for it at electionsausagesizzle.com.au. The winner will be awarded the Golden Tongs when the votes are tallied on Monday. Vote with your tastebuds people!
1.35pm If you're sick of seeing election posters, head to the polling booth on Kanahooka Road in Dapto where someone has erected a sign, welcoming home teen pilot Ryan Campbell. Nice one guys!
1.30pm Kevin Rudd has just turned up at St Paul's in east Brisbane to cast his vote.
1.10pm Opposition Leader Tony Abbott has been jostled by angry protesters at a school in southern Sydney, forcing him to cut short plans to campaign at the polling booth.The opposition leader was surrounded by people screaming ‘‘You’re not welcome Tony’’, and ‘‘Go away Tony’’ at Athelstane Public School at Arncliffe. Mr Abbott could barely move in the crush, and after five minutes had to be ushered back into his car.The protesters were a mix of Labor supporters, refugee advocates, and backers of independent candidate Michael Nagi.
1pm Stephen Jones has been busy this morning. He tweeted he was in Bowral this morning, "catching up with volunteers", visiting polling booths in Moss Vale and Robertson. He should be casting his vote at Albion Park Rail as we speak.
12.50pm Voters have been out & about at the polls in the Southern Highlands, which takes in the Throsby electorate. Polling places throughout the Highlands have been bustling with cake stalls, fresh coffee, barbecues and the vibrating amplifiers from musicians, taking advantage of the crowds. From 8am, residents were lining up at Bowral Memorial Hall to get in early while Berrima Public School offered voters freshly made espresso, cakes and sweets. Delish!
12pm The Mercury's political reporter Kate McIlwain was shocked at how many of her friends knew very little about the federal election. Check out her thoughts on the importance of being an informed voter: ELECTION BLOG: A vote for being informed
11.32am Australian Greens leader Christine Milne has cast her vote, declaring her party can pick up seats in the Senate. The Greens leader voted at Hobart’s City Hall. She said the party’s success would be judged on whether it held seats, rather than on the 11.8 per cent of the vote it recorded at the 2010 poll. Senator Milne says the realisation among voters that Tony Abbott is likely to be elected prime minister will favour the Greens.‘‘I don’t think anyone in Australia would want to see Tony Abbott having absolute power,’’ she told reporters in Hobart.
11.30am World-record breaking pilot Ryan Campbell arrived in Throsby at about 10.10am. He flew into Albion Park Airport after travelling around the world for 10 weeks. His first task now he is back on land? Get to the polling booths to vote!
11.15am Labor candidate Stephen Jones is set to cast his vote at Albion Park Rail at 1pm. Look out for Liberal candidate Larissa Mallinson if you're voting in Horsley today as she's set to vote at a Horsley-based polling booth.
9.30am Before you cast your vote, check out what your candidates have promised on a range of issues in the Mercury's 7 questions in 7 days. Read it here: 7 Questions in 7 Days - Throsby
9.25am The latest Age/Nielsen survey suggests 54 per cent of the nation's 14.7 million electors are embracing the Coalition.Labor's primary vote has slumped to 33 per cent, with the Coalition on 46 per cent.
8.30am Throsby voters looking for something to do this morning should head to Albion Park Airport. The public have been invited to welcome home world-record breaking Merimbula teen Ryan Campbell, who has been flying around the world. He is set to land at the airport at 10am. At 9.30am, RAAF roulettes will perform a spectacular welcome home display - don't miss it!
8.15am Here are the candidates for Throsby:
May King (Palmer United Party)
Peter Moran (Greens)
Larissa Mallinson (Liberal)
John Kadwell (Christian Democratic Party)
Stephen Jones (Labor)
Brian Boulton (Democratic Labour Party)
Glenn Turner (Katter’s Australian Party)
Wayne Hartman (Non-Custodial Parents Party)
Paul Matters (Independent)
Gary 'Angry' Anderson (Nationals)
Elrond Veness (Bullet Train For Australia)
7.30am Good morning Illawarra voters! It's election day - have you cast your vote yet? The Mercury will be rolling out coverage of the election online throughout the day so keep your eyes on the website for regular updates.