Tony Abbott has been elected the prime minister of Australia after the Coalition’s convincing victory in the federal election last night.
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8 Sep 2013 - 8:49 AM  UPDATED 8 Sep 2013 - 10:20 AM

Tony Abbott has declared Australia "open for business" after the Coalition's convincing victory in the federal election last night.

The Coalition has gained between 10 – 20 seat, although the predicted “Labor wipe-out” was not as severe as predicted.

As shown by our live results, with 96 per cent of votes counted, the Coalition has won at least 88 seats and Labor 57, in the 150-seat House of Representatives. 

Kevin Rudd conceded defeat last night and has quit the Labor leadership. He retained his seat of Griffith but with a smaller margin.

In Western Sydney, Labor’s Michelle Rowland held the marginal seat of Greenway, Chris Bowen held McMahon, but Labor MP David Bradbury lost his seat of Lindsay to Liberal candidate Fiona Scott.

The question today will be the leadership of the Labor party, after Kevin Rudd declared last night he would not contest it, with both Bill Shorten, Anthony Albanese, Chris Bowen and Tony Burke touted as possible new leaders.

The Greens have retained one seat with Adam Bandt returned to Melbourne.

Clive Palmer is considered a good chance in the Queensland seat of Fairfax for Palmer’s United Party.

ABBOTT BEGINS A NEW DAY

Prime Minister-elect Tony Abbott has started the day with a bike ride.

He says it's been a big night and there's going to be a fair bit of work this morning.

Mr Abbott is the country's 28th prime minister after a decisive swing toward the Coalition in yesterday's federal election.

He's declared Australia "open for business" and pledged to create a competent, trustworthy government in his victory speech last night. 

"I declare that Australia is under new management and is once again open for business," the jubilant 55-year-old told cheering supporters at a luxury hotel in Sydney.

I now look forward to forming a government that is competent, that is trustworthy, and which purposefully and steadfastly and methodically sets about delivering on our commitments to you, the Australian people.

"I am both proud and humbled as I shoulder the duties of government," he added.

Abbott is expected to be sworn in officially by Governor General Quentin Bryce next week.

Best known as a political hard man of the Liberal Party, unafraid of speaking his mind and occasionally tripping up on a gaffe, he has rebuilt his image and ran what was widely seen as a disciplined election campaign.

He made a paid parental leave scheme his "signature" policy, while pledging to scrap the carbon tax and make billions of dollars of savings to bring debt down.

RUDD CONCEDED

Rudd said Labor had "fought the good fight", conceding defeat some 100 minutes after the polls closed.

He mounted the stage in a function room at the Gabba cricket ground in Brisbane to wish his rival well in the "high strain" lifestyle that comes with prime ministership.

"As prime minister of Australia, I wish him well in the high office of prime minister of this country," he said, adding that he will quit as party leader.

I will not be recontesting the leadership of the parliamentary Labor Party. The Australian people, I believe, deserve a fresh start with our leadership.

LABOR LEADERSHIP

Employment and Workplace Relations Minister Bill Shorten is seen by the Australian media as favourite to take over.

Others in the running could be deputy leader Anthony Albanese, Treasurer Chris Bowen and Immigration Minister Tony Burke.

Rudd had struggled for traction after toppling Julia Gillard, Australia's first female prime minister, in a bitter party room coup just weeks before calling the election.

Health Minister Tanya Plibersek said Labor had only itself to blame for defeat.

"The clear take-out from this definitely is that disunity is death and we are not disciplined enough," she said.

Former Labor prime minister Bob Hawke, who won four successive elections in the 1980s and 90s, said personality politics had been allowed to overtake the party's message and policies.

"I really believe this was an election that was lost by the government rather than one that was won by Tony Abbott," he told Sky.

ELECTION ISSUES

Rudd campaigned on his administration's success in keeping Australia out of a recession during the global financial crisis.

He also promised to scrap the carbon tax brought in by Labor after the 2010 election and move to a carbon emissions trading scheme by July 2014.

Other key policies included a plan to introduce a bill in parliament to legalise gay marriage and the adoption of tough measures to halt asylum-seeker boats.

Capitalising on Labor's fragmenting base was eccentric billionaire Clive Palmer, best known for building a replica of the Titanic, who polled strongly in his native Queensland and was on track to win a seat and take more than five percent of the vote nationwide.

British Prime Minister David Cameron tweeted that he had phoned and congratulated Abbott.

Australian-born media baron Rupert Murdoch also gave his approval of the result.