2016 Federal Election: Official New Matilda Live Blog

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10:05pm: We’re wrapping up our live blog for tonight. It’s clear there will be no election result tonight. Here’s a brief wash-up.

A hung parliament looks more likely than not, but it’s still not certain. The seat of Batman may not be won by the Greens, despite predictions, which reduces the number of minor parties/independents in the House of Reps to five.

But that doesn’t help the Liberals – if Batman doesn’t go to the Greens, it will go to Labor.

76 is the magic number needed for majority government – at the moment, according to the ABC the Coalition is sitting on 73 seats; Labor on 67; Greens on 1; and independents and others on 4.

We’ll have more election coverage, with analysis and coverage from Chris Graham , Ben Eltham, Max Chalmers and Thom Mitchell and others tomorrow morning.


Barnaby Joyce
Nationals MP, Barnaby Joyce. (IMAGE: Apple and Pear Australia Ltd, Flickr)

9:51pm: Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce – the cousin of a tomato who at one stage looked like losing the safe Nationals seat of New England to independent Tony Windsor – has just claimed victory.

In the end, Joyce won comfortably – his primary vote was eroded by only 1.4 per cent.

With about 90 percent of the booths already in, Joyce has 58 per cent of the vote, to Windsor’s 42 per cent.


9:46pm: ABC’s Antony Green is predicting a Labor retain in the seat of Batman, with the AEC graph also showing Labor has moved back ahead in the marginal inner-Melbourne seat.

Earlier tonight, the Greens’ Alex Bhathal was in front of Feeney, and Richard Di Natale’s speech to the party faithful a short time ago suggested the Greens remained confident of snatching Batman.

But there’s been a stronger flow of preferences from Liberal voters to Labor than expected.

The seat seems to close to call… but call it Antony Green has. A firmer result will be apparent some time tomorrow, but things are looking far less positive for the Greens late tonight.


9:23pm: Labor looks certain to have failed to secure the numbers to form a majority government. But it’s unclear whether the Turnbull government has the numbers to rule in its own right either.

ABC modelling by Antony Green has the Coalition tonight on 75 seats – 1 short of the number needed for a majority.

If it did go to negotiations to form a minority government, Labor would need to secure all six potential independents/minor party candidates (Adam Bandt, Greens; Cath McGowan, independent; Alex Bhathal, Greens; Rebekha Sharkie, Xenophon Team; Andrew Wilkie, independent; and Bob Katter, independent).

Greens industrial relations spokesperson, Adam Bandt.
Greens industrial relations spokesperson, Adam Bandt.

And it’s the latter that will shut Labor out of government – Katter would sooner ‘walk backwards naked through his entire electorate’ than side with Labor, and in 2010 rejected a deal with Julia Gillard in favour of Abbott.

If the Coalition does end up with 75 seats, and relies on Katter to make the numbers (and almost certainly Sharkie from Xenophon’s team… her leader will definitely want to be part of government) it will be an enormously unstable parliament. But enough to get Turnbull over the line.

The result, however, will not be known tonight. It’ll be a Sunday declaration, at the earliest.

Perhaps the biggest implication from all this – apart from the stability of parliament – will be the stability of Turnbull’s leadership.

By any measure, he’s failed quite spectacularly after widely being tipped as a multi-term Prime Minister when he ousted Abbott last year.

The other leader who may face pressure from this election is Richard Di Natale from the Greens. The possible win in Batman (Bhathal is ahead, although only by the slimmest of margins) is one of the few bright moments in a campaign by the Greens that, at this early stage, appears to have had only a small impact on voters nationally.

The Greens vote appears to have climbed to around 10 per cent nationally, and Di Natale has undoubtedly gained some ground in inner city seats.

But the national vote is still down on 2010.


9:08pm: The youngest member ever to win a seat in Parliament, Wyatt Roy, appears set to lose his seat of Longman.

Roy won the seat for the Liberals in 2010, after it was lost in 2007 by disgraced former Howard government minister Mal Brough.

Roy was aged just 20 – the youngest person ever to win a seat in parliament. He was a visible backer of the coup against Abbott last year, and his political career seems to be over – for now at least – at the tender age of just 26.

The seat looks likely to fall to Labor’s Susan Lamb. Roy is ahead on primary votes, but has dragged in less than 40 percent, and on preferences, should lose by a margin of around 1 percent.


Jamie Briggs. (IMAGE: CeBIT Australia, Flickr)
Jamie Briggs. (IMAGE: CeBIT Australia, Flickr)

9:01pm: The Turnbull government has lost its first ‘Minister’… or at least former Minister, in Jamie Briggs.

Minutes ago, Briggs conceded defeat in the seat of Mayo in South Australia. He lost to Rebekha Sharkie from the Nick Xenophon’s team.

Briggs was a Minister in the Abbott government briefly, serving as Assistant Minister for Infrastructure and Regional Development.

He’s the guy who ended up on crutches after a misplaced crash tackle at Tony Abbott’s raucous farewell party.

And then he’s the guy who who held the Ministry of Cities and the Built Environment in the Turnbull government… until he behaved like misogynist towards a DFAT official in Hong Kong, and resigned from the ministry after being asked to consider his position by Malcolm Turnbull.


8:49pm: The Greens are in front in the inner Melbourne seat of Batman, with Alex Bhathal holding a razor thin edge over Labor hawk David Feeney.

Bhathal leads 50.28 per cent to 49.72 on a two party preferred basis.

One complication could be the counting of pre-poll votes, which traditionally slightly favour the Liberals. This election, almost 4 million Australians – a new record – cast their ballot before polling day.

They’re not normally counted until the end of the first night.

33 of 46 booths are in in Batman… it’s going to be a long, nervous night for both candidates, with a result unlikely until tomorrow at the earliest.


8:36pm: An interesting development in the independent area… with the ABC predicting it’s possible we’ll have a hung parliament, focus is obviously turning to which independents (and Greens) are winning seats in the parliament.

Former Member for New England, Tony Windsor. (IMAGE: Screencap from ABC News 24).
Former Member for New England, Tony Windsor. (IMAGE: Screencap from ABC News 24).

In New England, Tony Windsor has lost that poll. So he’s out. Rob Oakeshott in Cowper is behind on the count. He’s possibly out as well.

Cath McGowan in the seat of Indi looks to have increased her margin over poisoned chalice Sophie Mirabella. And Adam Bandt looks like to retain Melbourne.

The seat of Mayo has almost certainly fallen to Nick Xenophon’s team in South Australia, so that’s three independents.

Bob Katter will be returned in the seat of Kennedy. That’s four.

The Greens are leading in Batman, that’s five.

There’s Andrew Wilkie in Denison in Tasmania. That’s six.* (UPDATED: We left Denison out in the original posting).

So even without Windsor and Oakeshott, there’s a fair bit of fat built into the crossbenches. The Turnbull government will win more seats than Labor, but possibly not enough to form majority government.

Results from Western Australia will be key.


8:32pm: Tony Abbott will definitely return to parliament, despite suffering a 10 per cent swing against him in early counts.

James Mathieson, an independent and former co-host of popular program Australian Idol, has dragged 12 percent of the vote away from Abbott. But on a two party preferred vote, the swing against Abbott is only 4 per cent.


8:24pm: The election remains on a knife edge, two and a half hours after the polls closed on the east coast.

The ABC’s Barrie Cassidy has suggested it’s now more likely than not that we’ll have a hung parliament. A lot of it will rest on Western Australia’s result.

As Cassidy notes, the two major parties are polling weakest in the state’s where they’re governed by their respective parties.

Labor has gained ground in NSW, where there’s a Liberal government, but not in Queensland where there is a Labor government.

The Liberals have been wiped out in Tasmania, where there’s a Liberal government.

If the trend continues in WA – and the polls closed there half an hour ago – then the Turnbull government could be in serious trouble. If that occurs, Malcolm Turnbull’s leadership will be in trouble as well.

Antony Green is currently predicting 78 seats to the Coalition – two more than needed to form government – but with the very big caveat that it depends what happens in WA.

The only certainty… it’s going to be a long night.


8:20pm: Aboriginal Labor MP Linda Burney has won the seat of Barton in the inner west of Sydney, making her the first Aboriginal woman elected to the House of Representatives.

Burney is a former Deputy Leader of the NSW Labor Party, and a state minister.


Christopher-Pyne-28:15pm: Coalition minister Christopher Pyne will be sweating bricks in Adelaide tonight. With 12 booths already reporting in, he’s suffered a 10 per cent swing against him.

The threat is coming from Nick Xenophon’s wild popularity in South Australia. His candidate Matthew Wright has dragged 22 per cent of the primary vote so far.

It will obviously come down to where the Xenephon preferences flow. Pyne has only managed to attract 39 per cent of the primary vote. If Xenophon preferences go to Labor’s Matt Loader, Pyne is in real trouble. But the more likely result is he’ll retain the seat as a marginal.


7:50pm: The Greens’ dream that it might knock Labor’s Tanya Plibersek off in the seat of Sydney – in the capital’s inner west – appears in doubt.

Greens candidate Sylvie Elsmore has dragged just 0.15 per cent more of the vote to herself, on primary votes. Only 8 booths are in, but Plibersek on a two party preferred has 66 per cent of the vote.

Elsmore is a lawyer and former Marrickville Councillor for the Greens until recently, when the NSW Baird government abolished the council as part of its sweeping local council reforms.


7:47pm: The polls have closed in NT, and in the seat of Solomon the Country Liberal member Natasha Griggs appears in trouble. Only one booth is in, but it’s a relatively big one with more than 1,000 votes… and Griggs has already suffered a 10 per cent swing against her to Labor’s Luke Gosling.

Party polling during the week predicted Gosling would win the seat. He contested it last election and came within a few hundred votes. Gosling is a former Army soldier and was one of the original walkers on the Long Walk, when AFL star Michael Long walked from Melbourne to Canberra to force a meeting with John Howard in 2004.


7:42: Labor has secured a 6.2 per cent swing in early counting, about half what it would need to form government. Seats appear to have fallen to Labor in particular in Tasmania, with the Libs likely to be wiped off the map there.


7:37pm: The bellwether seat of Eden-Monaro may finally Lose it’s famous tag as the seat that is always won by the government of the day.

Since 1972, when it was created, Eden-Monaro has always been won by the party that wins government.

On early voting, the Liberals look likely to retain government, albeit having lost a bit of skin to Labor. By contrast, Eden-Monaro looks increasingly likely to fall to Labor’s Mike Kelly.


7:35pm: On the early numbers, it doesn’t look like Labor will win enough seats to take government. The swing is just a few per cent, and while it’s winning seats, it’s not enough.

Tasmania is proving a boon for Labor, but the Coalition is holding reasonably well in NSW and Queensland so far.

It’s way too early to call, but not looking strong enough for Labor so far.


new matilda, pauline hanson
Pauline Hanson in a recent video.

7:26pm: If the House of Reps voting in the seat of Blair is any indication, then One Nation’s Pauline Hanson will likely do very well in Senate votes for Queensland.

The seat of Blair – the old Hanson heartland – shows a swing to One Nation of 14.5 per cent. The candidate there, Troy Aggett, is running third, with almost half of the booths first preferences counted.

While it’s only the seat of Blair, and only early in the count, it bodes well for Hanson, who is seeking to make a return to federal politics after being punted in 1998.


7:25pm: The swing to Labor is very much on in Tasmania. They already look likely to pick up three seats there, and possibly four (with one likely to be held by Andrew Wilkie).

The seat of Bass has seen a swing against the sitting member (Andrew Nikolic, Liberal) with more than half the booths counted of 11 per cent.


7:20pm: Maybe the swing is on against Malcolm Turnbull, in his own seat of Wentworth. With six booths counted, Turnbull is facing a small swing against him of just over 2 per cent. It’s nowhere near enough to remove him from the seat – he had a handy margin of 10 per cent at the last election. Anthony Ackroyd appears to be the beneficiary, with a swing to him of 2 per cent.


Former Member for New England, Tony Windsor. (IMAGE: Screencap from ABC News 24).
Former Member for New England, Tony Windsor. (IMAGE: Screencap from ABC News 24).

7:17pm: With 27 of 103 booths already reporting, independent Tony Windsor appears in early trouble against the Nationals’ Barnaby Joyce.

Windsor had been widely tipped as a major threat to the Deputy Prime Minister, but his campaign was plagued with problems in the final weeks, amid an alleged ‘dirty tricks’ advertising campaign by the Nationals.

Windsor retired from the seat at the 2013 election, after forming minority government with Labor in 2010.

The results so far show Joyce with a lead of more than 1,600 votes over Windsor, although it’s worth noting those booths are likely to be small and rural – Windsor will fare better in the major towns like Tamworth.


7:15pm: The swing is on in the bellwether seat of Eden-Monaro, with Labor’s Mike Kelly securing an early gain of 7.5 per cent on primary votes, against the Coalition’s Peter Hendy.

Eden-Monaro has always fallen to the party that goes on to form government.


7:10pm: According to the AEC the seat count as it stands so far (at 7pm) is as follows:

COALITION 54
LABOR 33
GREENS 0
INDEPENDENT 3
NOT DETERMINED 60

Adam Bandt, of course, was the sitting member in Melbourne for the Greens, and while he’s likely to be returned the seat is too marginal to call just yet.
TWO-PARTY PREFERRED VOTE (2pc counted)
COALITION 60pc
LABOR 40pc
1.93pc swing against the coalition.


7:04PM: With one booth in in the electorate of Batman, in Victoria, Labor’s David Feeney has suffered a 9 per cent swing against him.

His biggest threat is Greens candidate Alex Bhathal, who has been widely tipped to be a major threat to take the seat.

Feeney has so far attracted 40 per cent of the primary vote, with Bhathal drawing 30 per cent. If the trend continues, on preferences, that’s enough for the seat to fall to the Greens.


7:02pm: The predicted swing against Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull in his own seat of Wentworth in the eastern suburbs of Sydney doesn’t look on… at least according to very early counts.

With almost 1,000 votes counted, Turnbull has actually seen a small swing to him of around 1.5 per cent. It’s obviously very early days – only booth has returned its results. But an interesting start.


Former prime minister Tony Abbott.
Former prime minister Tony Abbott.

6:58pm: In early results, Tony Abbott has suffered a swing against him of almost 14 per cent. It’s likely not enough to knock him out of the seat of Warringah, but it’s a significant early result.

The man doing the damage is James Mathieson, the former Australian Idol co-host who has run a prominent campaign. On raw votes, Mathieson running third behind Labor’s Andrew Woodward.


6:49pm: An updated count in the bellwether seat of Eden-Monaro – but still less than 2 per cent of the vote – shows a swing to Labor of just over 6 per cent. Eden-Monaro has always fallen to the party that goes on to form government. A 6 per cent swing would likely give Labor enough to form government, possibly with the help of crossbenchers.

The seat this election is complicated by the prominence of the Labor candidate, Mike Kelly, who formerly held the seat.


6:45pm: Tony Abbott’s former Chief of Staff, Peta Credlin, has told Sky News that a reluctance on the part of Liberal volunteers to turn out int he seat of Eden-Monaro is because of member Peter Hendy’s role in the downfall of her former boss.

Hendy was a key member of the coup against Tony Abbott last year. His seat is being challenged by Labor’s Mike Kelly, a prominent member of the Gillard government.

Credlin told Sky News it wasn’t a punishment of Hendy, rather a loss of respect by grassroots members, which explained a low turnout among Liberal volunteers.


6:35pm: Very early counts have started coming in from the AEC. Interestingly, the seat of Eden-Monaro – the bellweather seat that has always fallen to the party that goes on to win government – is showing an early 12 per cent swing to Labor.

That would be a big enough swing for them to win government. But there’s only a few booths in. It’s too early to determine if that’s a uniform swing across the electorate. It may also be a seat that finally bucks its own trend – Labor is running prominent former Gillard minister Mike Kelly, which will likely boost the vote slightly.


6:32pm: AAP is reporting that independent candidate Rob Oakeshott has lodged a formal complaint after voting officers in the seat of Lyne, on the mid north coast of NSW, ran out of Cowper absentee ballot papers on election day.

An AEC redistribution of the seats of Lyne and Cowper have seen their boundaries extensively redrawn. This meant voters who were previously registered in Lyne had to ask for Cowper ballot papers at their local booths.

Oakeshott – whose old seat was Lyne until his retirement in 2013 – is trying to take Cowper off the Coalition’s Luke Hartsuyker.

Oakeshott claims polling booths in the suburbs of North Haven and Bonny Hills ran out of absentee ballot papers for the seat of Cowper.

Voters were reportedly told they would be signed off the electoral roll – thus avoiding a fine – but they would not be able to cast a ballot.

It’s potentially a serious problem from the AEC, which last election had to rehold the WA contest after losing just over 1,000 ballot papers.

Polling suggests the seat of Cowper will be very close.


Greens leader Richard Di Natale pictured in the electorate of Batman earlier today. (IMAGE: Thom Mitchell, New Matilda)
Greens leader Richard Di Natale pictured in the electorate of Batman earlier today. (IMAGE: Thom Mitchell, New Matilda)

6:22pm: With a Galaxy exit poll this evening putting Greens’ support at around 9 per cent, there’s likely to be rumblings and consternation within the party if the prediction is correct.

Leader Richard Di Natale has dragged his party more towards the centre, to some disquiet internally. If it returns a result as low as 9 percent – 4 per cent lower than in 2010 – there’s likely to be repercussions.

We’ll be keeping a watch on the Greens’ vote throughout the night, in particular in the seat of Batman in Victoria, which some commentators have tipped could fall to the Greens.


6:12pm: According to various media outlets, most punters expected the Turnbull government to be returned, but as with all close elections, exit polls around the nation have delivered conflicting results.

AAP reports that the Sky News exit poll from today suggests 62 per cent of voters believe the Coalition will win. 39 per cent of Labor voters think the same.

However, a Galaxy Research exit poll (in 25 marginal seats) commissioner by the Nine Network shows that the 2016 federal election is too close to call.

The Galaxy poll suggests a swing to Labor of about 3.4 per cent. That’s not enough to form government, but would hand Labor 68 seats – 8 short of the 76 needed to form a majority government.

According to Galaxy, Labor’s primary vote sits at around 36 per cent, the Coalition at 43 per cent, with the Greens on 9 percent.

After the flow of preferences, on a two party preferred it sits at 50-50.


6:04pm: With voting booths in the Eastern states now closed, AAP is reporting that early exit polls have Labor and Liberal still neck and neck. A Newspoll published this morning had the Coalition slightly in front, and predicted Labor would fall short of the number of seats needed to form government. Turnbull was expected to be returned with a reduced majority.

Counting of the votes will start shortly, but given the predictions of a tight race, it’s expected to be at least a few hours before a result is known.

Senate results, of course, won’t be finalised for weeks.

Polls close in South Australia and the Northern Territory in half an hour, and in WA in two hours.


6pm, July 2, 2016: New Matilda’s official LIVE BLOG of the 2016 Federal Election is open. Polls have now closed in the eastern states. We’ll be filing until late tonight as the election unfolds. Our coverage will focus on the national result, and key seats of interest to our readers.

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