1253 Latest from ABC is Coal 73 and Lab 72. I still think Gillard will hang on but it will be claimed she has lost moral mandate to govern by coming second.
11:26 Wow it is getting tight, and a hung Parliament now more likely. Labor and Coalition both have 68 seats. Greens 1 and Independents 4. That leaves nine seats to decide it. At present five have Labor in front and four Libs, so that would be 73 Labor 72 Coalition. Gillard will need not just the Green MP but at least one of the four Independents. Abbott is now down and out yet if this eventuates. He could govern with all four Independents. Greens will hold balance of power in Senate.
11:20 Abbott will not be PM, but will (like Don Brash) be revered as the opposition leader who almost won the unwinnable election. A difference is Abbott did it after one term, meaning Labor will have to work very hard to get a third term.
10:50 Sky TV now saying hung Parliament a strong possibility if Labor lose seats in WA or SA.
10:35 In the event of a hung Parliament, Julia Gillard will remain Prime Minister I predict. The one or two Green MPs will back her, and the three Independents are more likely to – despite being former Nats.
10:30: Not at the bar as my internal clock is still not adjusted from Europe and I fell asleep at 6 pm and just woke back up at 10.30 pm!
At the moment it is looking like the Coalition picks up 15 and loses 3, which would leave Labor with exactly 76 seats – the bare minimum needed to govern alone.
While any victory is a victory, to come so close to being the only first term Government to almost lose power since the 1930s will be a nasty wakeup call.