LOCAL ELECTION 2013 COVERAGE
10.40pm: Ann Sudmalis is set to retain Gilmore for the Liberal Party. Ms Sudmalis held 52.9 per cent of the vote on a two-party preferred basis over Labor's Neil Reilly, a swing toward Labor of 2.42 per cent. Just under 75 per cent of the vote had been counted. Ms Sudmalis retains for the Liberal Party the seat held by retiring MP Joanna Gash.
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.’’
8.32pm: 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’’.
8.25pm: The seat of Gilmore continues to be a tight contest between Liberal candidate Ann Sudmalis and Labor's Neil Reilly. With about 54 per cent counted, Ms Sudmalis has 52.07 per cent to Mr Reilly's 47.93 per cent. Labor's first preference vote has changed only marginally, however the Liberals have dropped almost 5.75 per cent. Palmer United Party candidate Lyndal Gai Harris has picked up 6.68 per cent of first preferences which appears to have impacted on the Liberal vote. Former member, popular Liberal MP Joanna Gash, is retiring and did not contest the seat.
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.
7.41pm: 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.
7.36: With almost 20 per cent of the vote counted, the numbers in Gilmore continue to show a swing back to Labor on a two-party preferred basis. Liberals candidate Ann Sudmalis is polling at 52.32 per cent, a downward swing of 2.82 per cent while Labor candidate Neil Reilly is running at 47.5 per cent, a gain of 2.82 per cent. Ms Sudmalis has picked up 44.72 per cent of first preference votes but this represents a swing away from the Liberals of 5.2 per cent. The Palmer United Party candidate Lyndal Gai Harris has recorded 2,280, or 6.24 per cent, of first preference votes.
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.’’
7.02pm: With nine per cent of the vote counted, Ann Sudmalis is on 54.33 per cent on a two-party preferred basis and Neil Reilly has 45.67 per cent. That’s an almost one per cent swing towards Labor.
6.50pm: A few more Gilmore booths have returned their results and, if these early votes are anything to go on, Ann Sudmalis should hold on to the seat for the Liberals. On a two party preferred basis, she has 58 per cent of the vote - a swing towards the Coalition of 2.68 per cent from the last election.
6.48pm: Gilmore’s first results are in and both major parties have recorded a swing away from their candidates.
These early results come from just 5 of the 64 booths around the electorate, so keep watching as the night unfolds for more accurate figures.
The Liberals’ Ann Sudmalis has got 46.85 per cent of the vote so far, with a swing of -4.58 per cent, while Labor’s Neil Reilly has got 34.4 per cent - a swing of -2.11.
Palmer United Party candidate Lyndal Harris has evidently captured some of the votes for the two big parties, with 7.24 per cent of the vote.
This is almost on par with the Greens’ Terry Barratt, who has 8.4 per cent.
The Christian Democrats’ Steve Ryan has also received a small swing towards him, with 3.41 per cent of the vote.
6.37: Gilmore is emerging as one of the hottest Coalition seats to watch this evening, with the popular Liberal MP Joanna Gash retiring. Paul Howes and Alexander Downer have reportedly told Channel 7 it will swing back to Labor, to be won by Neil Reilly rather than by Ms Gash’s replacement Ann Sudmalis.
Either way, the southern Illawarra and Shoalhaven seat will have a new member tonight.
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.
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.
2.53pm 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.’’
2.30pm 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.
1.54pm Kiama MP Gareth Ward is out and about, campaigning with Liberal candidate Ann Sudmalis.
1.41pm Liberal candidate Ann Sudmalis has enjoyed the strong endorsement of retiring Federal Member Joanna Gash throughout the campaign. The Libs will be hoping the backing of the extremely popular Gash, now Shoalhaven City’s Mayor, will bode well today. Ms Sudmalis just posted on Facebook that she's hoping to visit as many polling booths as possible today.
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!
1.30pm 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.
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
11.35am: Labor candidate Neil Reilly is having his third attempt at winning the seat today. He ran in 2007 and in 2010 and was defeated by Liberal Joanna Gash on both occasions. He voted at Kiama this morning. He had already visited polling joints in Kiama and Minnamurra and was heading to Shell Cove and the Shoalhaven.
11.30am 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.
11.25am 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 - Gilmore
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.
9.15am Gilmore voters, if you're looking for something else to do on election day, why not head to Albion Park Airport at 10am to see Merimbula teen Ryan Campbell return from his world-record flight around the globe? There's a RAAF Roulette performance at 9.30am before Ryan flies in. Check it out!
8.15am Here are the list of candidates for Gilmore voters:
Christian Democratic Party (Fred Nile Group)
Neil Reilly (Labor)
Lyndal Harris (Palmer United Party)
Ann Sudmalis (Liberal)
Are you looking for a nearby polling booth? Find your nearest polling booth here:
BARRACK HEIGHTS: Barrack Heights Public School & Warilla High School
BERRY: Berry Public School
BLACKBUTT: Shellharbour City Anglican Church
BOMADERRY: Bomaderry Public School & Nowra T.A.F.E. College
CAMBEWARRA: Cambewarra Public School
FLINDERS: Flinders Public School
GERRINGONG: Gerringong Town Hall & Mayflower Village
GERROA: Gerroa Neighbourhood Centre
JAMBEROO: Jamberoo Public School
KANGAROO VALLEY: Kangaroo Valley Hall
KIAMA: Kiama High School & Kiama Public School
KIAMA DOWNS: North Kiama Neighbourhood Centre
MINNAMURRA: Minnamurra Public School
NOWRA: Illaroo Road Public School, North Nowra Public School, Nowra Public School, Shoalhaven District Memorial Hospital, Shoalhaven High School, Wesley Centre, Nowra East Public School
SHELL COVE: Shell Cove Public School
SHELLHARBOUR: Shellharbour Public School
SYDNEY (Gilmore): Sydney Town Hall
WARILLA: Warilla Public School
WERRI BEACH: Werri Beach Progress Association Hall Pacific Ave