8 Sep 2013

Australia to get new government

12:01 am on 8 September 2013

Tony Abbott's Liberal-National coalition is on course for a decisive win in Australia's general election.

The ALP is being swept from power with a primary vote swing against it of around 4.5%, although Labor leader Kevin Rudd and other senior figures will keep their seats and the voter rebellion in Western Sydney appears to not be as bad as the party had feared.

Mr Rudd conceded defeat on Saturday night, congratulated Tony Abbott and wished him well.

The ABC reports that in one of the shocks of the night, Clive Palmer is on course to become MP for the Sunshine Coast seat of Fairfax after his party grabbed more than 11% of the vote in Queensland.

And while the Coalition will have a huge majority in the House of Representatives, the battle for the Senate remains up in the air.

The BBC reports the campaign has been dramatic, with Kevin Rudd ousting Julia Gillard as PM and Labor leader weeks from the polls.

The economy, asylum and the carbon tax have been key election issues.

Mr Rudd called the election after defeating Julia Gillard in a leadership challenge in June, amid dismal polling figures that showed Labor on course for a wipe-out.

Under Mr Rudd, Labor initially saw its figures improve significantly, but Mr Abbott then broadened the gap again.

A Newspoll exit poll, released just over an hour before polling closed in the east of the country, predicted that the coalition would secure 97 seats in the 150-seat House of Representatives.

With nearly 65% of the votes counted, however, ABC News, put its estimate significantly lower, with the coalition predicted to win 84 seats to Labor's 54.

Labor's Defence Minister Stephen Smith, speaking on ABC television minutes after polls closed in the east, said the government "will be defeated tonight".

Mr Abbott, who took on the leadership of the coalition in 2009, cast his ballot in his northern Sydney seat of Warringah early on Saturday.

Mr Abbott has pledged to repeal both the mining and carbon taxes introduced by Labor.

He has also promised a raft of budget cuts - including reducing the foreign aid budget by $A4.5 billion - but says he will fund an expanded paid parental leave scheme.

Mr Rudd, a former diplomat who served as prime minister from 2007-2010 before being ousted by Julia Gillard, voted in his Brisbane seat of Griffith, which he continues to hold.

More than 14 million people were expected to vote in Saturday's election. Voting is compulsory in Australia.

Polling closed in eastern states at 18:00 and in Western Australia two hours later.