Australia

Exit poll tips Labor victory as support for Coalition drops

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Polling day has arrived as Australians head to the ballot box to decide the make-up of the country's federal parliament.

Labor is tipped to take out the 2019 federal election, according to the latest YouGov exit poll.

Nine's YouGov Galaxy poll has placed Labor ahead by a four-point margin on a two-party preferred basis, 52-48, delivering a potential 80 lower house seats for the ALP.

The poll has also predicted a slide for Coalition primary votes - 39 down to 38 per cent.

Labor frontbencher Chris Bowen said the exit poll results were "encouraging".

"But polls haven't closed yet and I do think we're in for a long night, with pre-poll votes. And some sets aren't even counting pre-polls," he told the Seven Network.

The polls are set to close shortly across the country, with more than 16 million Australians expected to take part in the national vote at 7000 polling locations across the country.  

'Shake up'

Scott Morrison and Bill Shorten have cast their votes along with millions of Australians across the country in a poll that is tipped to see Labor form the next federal government.

The final Newspoll of the campaign has Labor ahead of the Coalition 51.5 to 48.5 on a two-party preferred basis, while the latest Ipsos poll shows Labor in front 51-49.

Australian Opposition Leader Bill Shorten votes with his wife Chloe at Moonee Ponds West Primary School in Melbourne.
Australian Opposition Leader Bill Shorten votes with his wife Chloe at Moonee Ponds West Primary School in Melbourne.
Associated Press

A confident Mr Shorten was handing out how-to-vote cards at his local polling booth in the Melbourne seat of Maribyrnong, before voting himself.

"We will shake up politics and get on with climate action," the opposition leader told one supporter.

Mr Shorten said pre-polling is convenient, describing it as the "Uber factor".

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison, and his wife, Jenny, after casting his ballot.
Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison, and his wife, Jenny, after casting his ballot.
AP

"But I also believe there's a mood for change. You don't have record numbers being set, people rushing out to save the government," Mr Shorten told ABC news.

'It will be a long night'

Prime Minister Scott Morrison returned home to Sydney's Sutherland Shire to cast his vote on Saturday afternoon.

"This community means the world to me," he told reporters after casting his ballot, flanked by wife Jenny and daughters Abbey and Lily.

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"I am so up for this because the people of Australia have energised me so much and continue to," he said.

"That is why I will burn for them every single day in this job."

Mr Morrison visited two voting stations in northern Tasmania earlier in the day.

"I think it will be a long night. I've always said this election will be close," Mr Morrison told the Network Seven.

"Five weeks ago people weren't saying that but I've always known it to be the case," he said.

Mr Shorten started the day with a jog around Melbourne in a t-shirt with the slogan "Vote 1 Chloe Shorten's husband".

"What I know after 2000 days in the job is that I'm confident Labor can run a united government," he told Seven's Sunrise.

Nationals Leader Michael McCormack holds a safe margin of 16 per cent in his regional NSW seat of Riverina, but he is taking nothing for granted in his constituency or those of his National colleagues.

"I'm feeling quietly confident, quietly optimistic. I know we've delivered. I know we've been a good, Coalition government and I'd like to think that people will restore or put their faith in us, continue to put their faith in us," he told SBS News.

He said, that in addition to drought, regional voters were concerned about mobile phone connectivity and funding for hospitals and education. 

The deputy PM also said he remained confident, despite polls favouring Labor.

"Three out of the last four state elections, the polls have got it wrong. There is only one poll that matters and that's right here," he said.

Confident punter

As voters were putting their mark on their ballot papers, one punter put $850,000 on Labor to win the 2019 election.

Sportsbet.com.au says the trend over the past 48 hours has been to back Bill Shorten and Labor to win, with the odds coming into $1.10.

Bill Shorten makes an election day campaign stop at Carnegie Primary School in Melbourne.
Bill Shorten makes an election day campaign stop at Carnegie Primary School in Melbourne.
AAP

Conversely, the coalition is now out to $7.00 despite Prime Minister Scott Morrison's best efforts to retain power.

"Our punter has waited until the eleventh hour to pull the trigger," sportsbet.com.au's Rich Hummerston said in a statement on the $850,000 wager.

"If the money coming in for Labor is any indication, he'll be a happy man later on tonight."

'A few butterflies'

Several other candidates also cast their votes.

Green leader Richard Di Natale voted mid-morning, after saying it would be a climate change election.

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"What I'm hearing from lifetime Liberal voters is that they want strong action on climate change," he told the ABC.

Former Prime Minister Tony Abbott voted in his seat of Warringah not long after polls opened.

He is facing the fight of his political career against Independent Zali Steggall.

Tony Abbott receives his ballot papers.
Tony Abbott receives his ballot papers.
AAP

"I've always been a nervous candidate," he told reporters.

"Sure, I've got a few butterflies doing loop-the-loops in my tummy today as well. But that's the lot of all candidates because the one thing you can never take for granted is the vote of the Australian people." 

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What's at stake this federal election?
What's at stake this federal election?

While Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton is confident he can hold his marginal seat of Dickson, which he's held for 18 years.

The home affairs minister is in the fight of his political life as he duels for votes with Labor candidate Ali Francis.

Federal Member for Dickson Peter Dutton on election day.
Federal Member for Dickson Peter Dutton on election day.
AAP

"Get Up and Labor have thrown a lot of mud," he said, while talking to voters and LNP volunteers at the polling booth at Strathpine West State School.

"So we've countered that and we've had a really strong campaign."

Meanwhile, Treasurer Josh Frydenberg arrived at the Balwyn North Primary School to anti Adani mine protesters.

Treasurer Josh Frydenberg is followed by anti Adani protesters.
Treasurer Josh Frydenberg is followed by anti Adani protesters.
AAP

Early-voting up

About 4.76 million votes have been cast at early-voting centres, with 700,000 votes cast on Friday, the final day of campaigning.

This compares to a total of 2.5 million at the same stage of the 2016 federal election.

In addition, there have been 1.5 million postal vote applications, the AEC said.

More than 1500 candidates have thrown their hat into the ring across 151 electorates, including more than 400 candidates contesting 40 Senate vacancies and just over 1000 people vying for 151 House of Representatives seats.

The final Newspoll of the campaign had Labor ahead of the coalition 51.5 to 48.5 on a two-party preferred basis while the last Ipsos poll had Labor ahead 51-49.

Who’s running in your electorate? Check out our interactive map

Additional reporting: AAP

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