Vote 2019: Australians head to the polls in tight federal election

 sbs.com.au  05/18/2019 04:00:19 

Voting is underway in the 2019 federal election with millions of Australians casting their ballots.

More than 16 million Australians are expected to take part in the national vote at 7000 polling locations across the country.  

That's one 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.

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."

'It will be a long night'

To start election day, Prime Minister Scott Morrison launched a last-ditch blitz of northern Tasmania.

Scott Morrison in Launceston.
Scott Morrison in Launceston.

Mr Morrison visited two voting stations in northern Tasmania.

"Tasmania in significant ways is going to decide what happens in this election," he told reporters.

Mr Morrison then planned to travel home to Sydney's Sutherland Shire to vote, before campaigning with other Liberal MPs in marginal seats across the city.

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

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

Polling places are now open! 🇦🇺🗳(0800 - 1800) 4.76 million Australians have already voted (about 35% of voters) - up from 3.2 million early voters in 2016. Around 700,000 people voted yesterday. #AusVotes19 #auspol @SBSNews

 Brett Mason (@BrettMasonNews) May 17, 2019

Labor leader Bill Shorten is visiting seats in the key battleground of Victoria.

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.

The opposition leader went on to vote in his electorate of Maribyrnong in western Melbourne.

Several other candidates also cast their votes.

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

"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.

"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." 

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.

"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.

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.

Final figure for pre-poll votes cast at early voting centres for the 2019 federal election - 4.76m. Around 700k cast a pre-poll vote on Friday. #ausvotes

 AEC (@AusElectoralCom) May 17, 2019

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.

Whos running in your electorate? Check out our interactive map

Additional reporting: AAP

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