Australia will today head to the polls to elect the 46th Parliament of Australia. Up for election are all 151 seats in the House of Representatives and 40 out of the 76 Senate seats are too. Saturday’s polls have opened at 8am local time (9pm BST on Friday) and will close at 6pm local time (7am BST Saturday).
Will there be an exit poll? When will results be declared?
The eastern states will be counted first, and if a clear swing against the Coalition is foreseen in Queensland, Victoria and Tasmania, it may quickly become apparent Labor could form a majority.
However, swings may not tell the whole tale, and at this election, it could be possible some local results may drastically go against the general trend.
If the swing is small or varies dramatically across the country, an obvious result may not emerge until late on Saturday evening, or potentially days afterwards.
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ABC’s analyst Antony Green has warned that a very large number of pre-poll votes which have already been cast may also contribute to a delay in calling the election.
Australian electoral commissioner Tom Rogers also warned that the early votes will stretch the resources of the Australian Electoral Commission.
This means vote counters will have a more complex job when counting results on Saturday.
Mr Rogers told ABC: ”It’s a huge logistic activity; we’ll be doing our very best, but there may well be some delays on the night.”
An exit poll will be shown on Channel Nine in Australia, who began news coverage at 7am local time (8pm BST).
Channel Nine will also have a special election-day edition of Nine News at 4pm local time (5am BST).
Early results from Nine’s exclusive Nine-Galaxy exit poll are expected at 5pm (6am BST).
The main race is between incumbent minority coalition government Liberal-National Coalition (LNC) more commonly known as the “Coalition”– made up of the Liberal Party of Australia and National Party of Australia – against the Labor Party (ALP).
Prime Minister Scott Morrison who represents the Liberal Party, is aiming for a third term but is facing competition from opposition leader Bill Shorten.
There are also independents and minor parties in the race, the most popular are the Greens and One Nation (ONP).
Mr Morrison said on the eve of the election that the result “is going to be incredibly close”.
In Australia, voting is compulsory which means every citizen of voting age is required to cast their vote.
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