UPDATE / Sept 9: While final results for Australia's lower house have yet to be confirmed, it's clear the Liberal-National coalition lead by Tony Abbott has a clear majority in the House of Representatives.
But as results trickled in Sunday, it also became clear Mr Abbott's party has failed to take control of the upper house, the Senate - which has the power to block legislation.
PROVISIONAL SENATE RESULT
(With 2 of 76 seats yet to be allocated as of early Monday morning. 39 seats needed for majoirty.)
At this point it's unclear how many of the grab-bag of minor party senators will vote. The motley crew consists of:
- former rugby league player Glenn Lazarus (Palmer United Party, led by businessman and conspiracy theorist extraordinaire Clive Palmer)
- Jacquie Lambie (Palmer United Party)
- Wayne Dropulich (Australian Sports Party)
- Ricky Muir (Australian Motoring Enthusiasts Party)
- David Leyonhjelm (gun rights supporter)
- Bob Day (Family First)
- Nick Xenophon (an independent former plaintiff lawyer often aligned with the Greens)
- John Madigan (Democratic Labor Party)
A complex system of preferential voting, which allows horsetrading among minor parties, means some of those listed above are likely to make it into the Senate despite attracking less than 0.5% of the vote.
While the House of Representatives is population-weighted, the Senate is made up of 12 senators per state, regardless of population.
The Senate cannot introduce legislation, but it can block it.
Mr Abbott has threatened a double dissolution of Parliament if the Senate does block his agenda (listed end of story).
PROVISIONAL HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES RESULT
(With 8 of 150 seats still to be decided as of early Monday morning. 76 seats needed for majority)
Party: seats (% of two-party preferred vote*)
Coalition: 85 (53.33%)
Labor: 54 (46.67%)
The Liberal-National coalition lead by Tony Abbott has easily won Australia's Federal election - but it was not the complete rout some had expected.
Nevertheless, outgoing Prime Minister Kevin Rudd used his lengthy concession speech to announce he would quit as Labor leader.
Early Sunday morning NZ time, with final results for six of 150 seats in the House of Representatives still to be decided, Labor had lost 14 seats, while the coalition had gained 18.
A number of senior Labour MPs who were seen at risk seem set to cling to their electorates.
They include Mr Rudd, who is tipped to hang on to his seat of Griffith, in Queensland.
And the Senate is more evenly poised, with the Greens and minor parties set to hold the balance of power.
Despite the swing against his party being less than some had feared, the Labor leader Kevin Rudd was facing infighting and recriminations even before the final result was in - notably from Home Affairs Minister Jason Clare who told Channel 10 it is 'time for generational change ... We need to put the Rudd and the Gillard era behind us."
In his victory speech, Mr Abbott said "From today I declare that Australia is under new management."
The Coalition leader - a Rhodes scholar and amateur boxer who briefly trained as a Catholic priest - said he would methodically deliver on his election promises.
Pundits have generally seen the result as a rejection of the bickering, exhausted Rudd-Gillard government that a pro-Abbott swing.
Nevertheless, the incoming government has an interesting mix of right and more centralist policies on his agenda, including:
- cutting the corporate tax rate to 28.5%, from 30%
- scrapping the controversial taxes on mining profits and carbon emissions
- building more roads
- a crackdown on asylum seekers
- a controversial and expensive paid parental leave system (paying a parent up to $A75,000 to cover six months' leave, against Labor's 18 weeks)
- boosting the role of private insurance in Australia's health system
- opposing gay marriage
- only paying for fibre-to-the-node (neighbourhood) rather than fibre-to-the-premise as under Labor under the National Broadband Network rollout
- cut 12,000 to 15,000 public servants through attrition
The change of government could also see closer transtasman economic ties.
NBR editor-in-chief Nevil Gibson wrote in a pre-election profile of the Coaltiion leader, "Though still virtually an unknown quantity in New Zealand, Tony Abbott is likely to get on well with John Key and, unlike Kevin Rudd, could help advance CER to single market status."
* Under Australia's preferential voting or "instant run-off" system, votes for unsuccessful minor parties in any given electorate where no candidate gets 50%+ are reallocated to a voter's second preference.