Anthony Albanese is set to lead Labor back into government after emerging alone with the ability to form a majority after one of the wildest election results in living memory.
Australia’s 31st Prime Minister shed a tear as he took to the stage to greet Labor party faithful and claim an improbable victory possibly as leader of a minority government.
“We made history tonight,” Mr Albanese said. “The Australian people have voted for change.”
Labor appears set to snatch power despite the party’s primary vote falling as well as the Coalition’s as voters delivered an election result that was most of all a rebuke to the status quo.
With nearly 60 per cent of the vote counted the future shape of government was unclear and Mr Albanese being forced to lead a minority government remained a distinct possibility.
Labor was confirmed as the winner in 72 contests, the ABC said, or three short of a majority with many volatile contests still being counted.
Mr Albanese first pledged to recognise indigenous Australians in the constitution as he promised to lead a government based on the principles of leaving no one behind and forging common ground.
“I want to bring Australians together,” he said.”I want to seek our common purpose and promote unity and optimism, not fear and division.”
Seats were projected to fall in all directions across a reshaped electoral map including to Greens and “teal” independents set to lead a vastly expanded cross bench.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison resigned as the leader of the Liberals as angry voters punished the party most of all, decimating its electoral base and turfing it out in seven seats.
“I’ve always believed in Australians and their judgement, and I’ve always been prepared to accept their verdicts,” Mr Morrison said.
“Tonight they have delivered their verdict.”
Treasurer Josh Frydenberg was the highest profile Liberal casualty; He was bested in Kooyong by independent challenger Monique Ryan – one of many women independents to topple inner-city Liberal strongholds in Wentworth, North Sydney and Goldstein.
“Our government was not listening to us, so, we have changed the government,” Dr Ryan said.
Ten independent MPs were projected to take their place in the next Parliament.
They will be joined on a cross bench double the previous size by as many as three Greens MPs after the party added two seats in Queensland after winning a historically high vote.
Peter Dutton was likely to emerge from a tough fight in his seat of Dickson as the presumptive leader of a diminished party room.
“We have as a Liberal family suffered a terrible day today,” he told a sombre gathering.
The National Party emerged relatively unscathed from electoral upheaval leaving major doubt about the future shape of any coalition with the Liberals.
“We have won Griffith and Ryan and we are on track in Brisbane, Macnamara and Richmond, and other target seats are still unresolved.
There was a 2.9 per cent swing to Labor nationally but votes shifted greatly between states and seats.
A huge, unexpected swing to the ALP in Western Australia emerged late on Saturday to bring Labor tantalisingly close to government and oust serving MPs including Ken Wyatt in Hasluck.
Ja,e“In the coming days, if there is a minority parliament, we will work towards delivering a stable, effective and progressive government for the country,” Greens leader Adam Bandt said.