Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews and Opposition Leader Matthew Guy on Remembrance Day amid a controversial election campaign. Picture: James Ross.
Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews and Opposition Leader Matthew Guy on Remembrance Day amid a controversial election campaign. Picture: James Ross.

Liberal ‘bloodbath’ in Victorian election

No-one had expected such a resounding result, certainly not the Liberal party.

Now the Federal Party is scrambling over whether Malcolm Turnbull's ousting was to blame in Saturday night's "bloodbath" that saw Labor shockingly sweep the Victorian election.

Commentators say the result will send shockwaves to Canberra, with Coalition figures conceding leadership instability was a significant factor.

It's one of the three worst bloodbaths in the Victorian Liberals' history, causing worrying implications for next year's federal election and the NSW election in March".

Sky News presenter Peter Gleeson said the Liberal brand was "toxic".

"They've lost Middle Australia, there's no doubt about that," he said on Saturday night.

"Bill Shorten tonight would be a very happy man knowing he's on the cusp of getting the keys to the lodge."

Labor supporters celebrate at the Mulgrave Country Club in Melbourne. Picture: Alex Coppel.
Labor supporters celebrate at the Mulgrave Country Club in Melbourne. Picture: Alex Coppel.

Peta Credlin said the Liberal party would now have to "go for broke".

"Decide what you are, pick your policies, create a contrast from the Labor Party," she said on the Sky News election panel.

The ALP reaped a swing of 5.3 per cent and is predicted to win 61 seats - 16 more than it had - to secure a second term.

Labor went into the election with a bare majority of 45 in the 88-seat parliament, but its overwhelming victory ensures it has the stable, majority government Premier Daniel Andrews had been craving.

The Liberal party suffered a swing against it of 6.7 per cent and will lose some of its heartland including possibly Brighton, which has never been held by Labor in its 162-year history.

Questions have been raised about the future of Matthew Guy as leader after such an electoral failure.

Labor supporters huge in excitement. Picture: Alex Coppel.
Labor supporters huge in excitement. Picture: Alex Coppel.

PREMIER DECLARES VICTORY

Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews has claimed victory, saying he's proud voters have rejected the "low road" to give Labor a resounding victory.

"The people of Victoria have today overwhelmingly endorsed a positive and optimistic plan for our state," he told the cheering sea of supporters.

"They have in record numbers, at the same time, rejected the low road of fear and division." Labor could win as many as 60 seats in the 88-seat parliament, 15 more seats than it had before Saturday's election.

"I thank each and every member of the team and all of those who will be joining us in a strong, stable majority government," he said.

Mr Andrews, who was flanked by his wife Cath and his three children, was greeted by cheers and chants of "Daniel, Daniel" as he entered the Labor election party in Melbourne.

He also thanked staff and campaign volunteers, and his family including his three children.

"They are the future and that's why we fight so hard for the things that we believe in," he said.

He also thanked Liberal leader Matthew Guy for his gracious concession he made in a personal call earlier on Saturday night.

Bill Shorten turns sausages after voting on Saturday. Picture: Julian Smith.
Bill Shorten turns sausages after voting on Saturday. Picture: Julian Smith.

FEDERAL LIBS WIPE THEIR HANDS OF LOSS

The federal Liberal party has wiped its hands of responsibility for a trouncing.

With a strong swing to Labor across the state, the conservatives were left licking their wounds on Saturday.

Federal Treasurer Josh Frydenberg was quick to say the result couldn't be blamed on Canberra.

"From a federal perspective, we also note that we won the last two state elections in South Australia and Tasmania," Mr Frydenberg told ABC TV.

"Scott Morrison and I and other federal colleagues didn't play an active role in this campaign, and it was fought on state (issues)."

The prime minister didn't appear beside Victorian Liberal leader Matthew Guy until the third week of the election campaign, when Mr Morrison visited Melbourne to pay respect to the victim of a deadly terror attack.

At the time, many said it was to Mr Guy's advantage not to be seen beside Mr Morrison, who has been battling poor polling since the party ousted Malcolm Turnbull as prime minister.

"The noise didn't help but it didn't determine the result of this election," Mr Frydenberg said of Federal Party issues impacting on Victoria.

The focus will now turn to what Labor's resounding victory in Victoria means for the federal election due by next May.

"We have a lot of work to do here in Victoria and across the country," Mr Frydenberg said.

"But at the same time the Australian economy is strong, we've got a good agenda we're prosecuting.

"And we know that the coalition has a very strong track record and we'll be presenting to the people at the next election, very strong policies."

The treasurer tried to highlight that all political parties have their problems.

"If (Opposition Leader) Bill Shorten wants to get ahead of himself and thinks he can measure up the drapes in the lodge he'll be as wrong next time around as he was in 2016 when he did his famous victory lap around the country saying he'd won."

Mr Shorten congratulated Labor's return to power in Victoria but did not make any link to the impact on federal politics.

"Today's result is also a fundamental rejection of the Liberals' cuts to schools, TAFE and hospitals, and their failure to invest in renewables and take action on climate change," he said.

LIBERAL 'BLOODBATH'

In a disastrous night for the Liberals, Labor has romped in the Victorian election.

Daniel Andrews has led Labor to an unexpectedly resounding victory, shocking analysts who were astounded at their swing just two hours after polling closed this evening.

The ALP has won at least 58 seats - 13 more than it had - to secure a second four-year term after Saturday's election that has left the Liberal-Nationals coalition shattered and the Greens on the sidelines.

Labor went into the election with a bare majority of 45 in the 88-seat parliament.

"It's extraordinary, a big swing to Labor that's for sure," Sky News political editor David Spears said.

"There will be a lot of fallout from this, for sure."

Political commentator Andrew Bolt said the win would "send shockwaves to Canberra".

The Liberal-Nationals coalition has 19 seats, the Greens one and independent Suzanna Sheed has retained the seat of Shepparton. Ten seats are still in doubt.

Former Victorian premier John Brumby said the result elevated Mr Andrews to "the pantheon of Labor leaders alongside Steve Bracks and John Cain".

Opposition leader Matthew Guy conceded defeat about 9pm and called for unity.

"Can I say for the next parliament, as a party, we need to stick together," he said.

"We need to stay united and we need to stay focused on our opponents and the game ahead, not on ourselves.

"Every day in opposition is a day closer to government and while tonight is not our night, we know that, we acknowledge that, we accept that, our time in the sun will come again."

ABC election guru Antony Green called the Labor early after voting closed at 6pm.

"There is nothing in any of the figures we're seeing at the moment which points to anything but a Labor victory," he told the ABC.

"At the moment we're seeing quite a remarkable set of swings. For that reason I think we're prepared to call this election."

A senior Victorian Labor MP has described the early results as a "bloodbath" as her party races toward victory.

A euphoric atmosphere has swept through the Labor election night party at the Village Green in Premier Daniel Andrews' seat of Mulgrave as the results are shown on a big screen.

The crowd of more than 100 red-shirt-clad Labor supporters are chanting "four more years" as the tally of seats continues to climb a party function in the seat of Mulgrave.

"This is looking like a bloodbath," Labor Health Minister Jill Hennessy said on ABC TV.

"Something has gone very, very wrong here with the Liberal brand and reflecting upon what that is, I also think that due credit needs to be given to Daniel Andrews for running a very strong government for four years."

LAST NIGHT: In a disastrous night for the Liberals, Labor are already romping in the Victorian election.

Analysts are shocked at the swing to Labor, just two hours after polling closed this evening.

"It's extraordinary, a big swing to Labor that's for sure," Sky News political editor David Spears said.

Political commentator Andrew Bolt said the win would "send shockwaves to Canberra".

ABC election guru Antony Green called the Labor early after voting closed at 6pm.

"There is nothing in any of the figures we're seeing at the moment which points to anything but a Labor victory," he told the ABC.

"At the moment we're seeing quite a remarkable set of swings. For that reason I think we're prepared to call this election."

A senior Victorian Labor MP has described the early results as a "bloodbath" as her party races toward victory.

A euphoric atmosphere has swept through the Labor election night party at the Village Green in Premier Daniel Andrews' seat of Mulgrave as the results are shown on a big screen.

The crowd of more than 100 red-shirt-clad Labor supporters are chanting "four more years" as the tally of seats continues to climb a party function in the seat of Mulgrave.

"This is looking like a bloodbath," Labor Health Minister Jill Hennessy said on ABC TV.

"Something has gone very, very wrong here with the Liberal brand and reflecting upon what that is, I also think that due creditneeds to be given to Daniel Andrews for running a very strong government for four years."

This supporter is stoked. Picture: Jake Nowakowski
This supporter is stoked. Picture: Jake Nowakowski

He said the swings in eastern Melbourne were quite consistent and very strong.

"This is the path to Victoria for the Labor Party," he said.

He has given the ALP 28 of the 88 seats in the parliament, the Liberal-National coalition 15, and the Greens one.

Shadow attorney-general John Pesutto told the ABC "early signs are troubling".

Earlier an exit poll predicted Daniel Andrews and Labor would be returned for a second term in Victoria with an slightly increased majority.

The Galaxy poll for the Nine Network shows a statewide swing of three per cent to Labor that would increase the government's one-seat margin in the 88-seat parliament by at least two more seats.

The poll projects the primary vote to be up to 41 per cent for Labor, with the Liberal-National coalition dropping to 38 per cent, and the Greens on 12 per cent.

"I am hoping that these polls aren't as accurate as you hope that they are," Liberal shadow treasurer Michael O'Brien said.

Police Minister Lisa Neville, cautiously welcomed the poll.

"Look, I prefer to be in our position at the moment than Michael's, I will say it that way." The Galaxy poll was conducted with 1500 voters in 16 seats on Saturday.

Three opinion polls published in newspapers on Friday and Saturday morning had indicated Labor would be returned on Saturday.

Opposition leader Matthew Guy sauces up a poll day hot dog. Picture: David Caird.
Opposition leader Matthew Guy sauces up a poll day hot dog. Picture: David Caird.

COUNTING STARTS

Counting is under way in the Victorian state election, with early signs leaning towards a Labor win.

It's set to be close in several marginal seats across Melbourne's southeast.

For the first time, pre-poll votes will be counted on election night alongside those cast at 1795 polling centres on Saturday.

A total of 4.1 million people were enrolled to vote in the 88 seats in the Victorian parliament.

At least 45 seats are needed to form a majority government, which the Labor government under Premier Daniel Andrews currently holds.

A Nine/Galaxy exit poll has predicted the government will be returned with a slightly increased majority.

The Victorian Election Commission is aiming to count up to 75 per cent of first preference votes on Saturday night.

LOWER HOUSE SEATS BEFORE ELECTION

Labor 45

Liberals 30

Nationals 7

Greens 3

Independents 3

 

VICTORIANS SET RECORDS

The 2018 Victorian election has set records for the number of people voting and voting early.

About 40 per cent of voters skipped their democracy sausage and voted early this year.

The Victorian Electoral Commission said a total of 1,641,687 votes had been cast by end of early voting on Friday - 1,391,284 were pre-poll votes and 250,403 postal votes.

Nearly 2.5 million Victorians were expected to vote between 8am and 6pm on Saturday, if all 4.1 million registered electors have a say.

Opposition Leader Matthew Guy was one of the early voters, but Premier Daniel Andrews and Greens leader Samantha Ratnam both cast ballots in their electorates on Saturday.

Federal Labor leader Bill Shorten and Australian Greens leader Richard Di Natale were also among voters.

The VEC tweeted a photo of voters lodging ballot papers at Antarctica's Casey Station.

"We'll go to the four corners of the earth to get your vote," read the comment.

Despite the early voting, there were complaints of queues at some of the bigger voting places.

Aside from debate over the best way to bite a democracy sausage, there was little controversy.

But independent candidate for Richmond Kevin Quoc Tran was stopped from handing out unauthorised campaign material at two polling booths in the hotly-contested inner-Melbourne electorate.

Mr Tran, a Liberal member but not an endorsed party candidate, said he told volunteers to stop handing out the single-sided flyers as soon as he was made aware of the issue.

"It was a bit of a misunderstanding, blown out of proportion," he told AAP.

POLITICAL KNIFING 'NO FACTOR' IN BATTLE

Daniel Andrews and wife Catherine vote in Mulgrave on Saturday, the premier saying he will campaign on till booths shut at 6pm. Picture: Julian Smith.
Daniel Andrews and wife Catherine vote in Mulgrave on Saturday, the premier saying he will campaign on till booths shut at 6pm. Picture: Julian Smith.

While some pundits have suggested today's state election in Victoria could be a dress rehearsal for the federal battle next year, Opposition leader Matthew Guy stressed the political knifing of Malcolm Turnbull would not factor in the day's polling.

A tight battle is predicted with the Victorian Labor Government narrowly ahead in opinion polls, and a record 4.1 million Victorians voting.

Following big-spending campaigns with major election promises from both sides, the latest opinion polls see Premier Daniel Andrews being re-elected.

Newspoll published by The Weekend Australian put Labor on 53.5 per cent ahead of Mr Guy's Liberal/Nationals team at 46.5 per cent on a two party preferred basis.

While working the polling booths and enjoying a sausage sizzle at Sherbourne Primary School in Melbourne's northeast today, Mr Guy told the ABC: "I think Victorians will vote on issues that matter to our state and they'll look at law and order issues, cost-of-living pressures, congestion issues around Melbourne."

But Mr Andrews, who cast his ballot in his Melbourne electorate with his wife Cath on Saturday morning, said he was taking nothing for granted and would be campaigning right up until polling closes at 6pm.

He launched an attack on the Greens party, and urged voters to "ensure a stable majority" return of his government.

Matthew Guy said on Saturday he won't reveal if he will stay as Liberal leader if he loses and will "make any of those decisions after the election … I hope to win".

The lead up to the Victorian election has been a scandal-ridden campaign on the hustings, with candidates from several parties accused of disreputable behaviour.

 

Opposition Leader Matthew Guy talks to locals in Pakenham, Melbourne on the campaign’s last day. Picture: David Crosling.
Opposition Leader Matthew Guy talks to locals in Pakenham, Melbourne on the campaign’s last day. Picture: David Crosling.

The controversy has continued into polling day, after it was revealed the Victorian Electoral Commission (VEC) has stepped in to stop a Liberal handing out unregistered election pamphlets.

Liberal Party member Kevin Quoc Tran, who is not an endorsed candidate, instructed volunteers to cease handing out the material once informed by the commission, Fairfax reported.

The Liberal/Nationals are hoping for a late swing of 3 per cent to win them seven seats to trounce Mr Andrews.

Mr Guy campaigned on law and order and cost of living platforms, while Mr Andrews pledged road, rail, and school infrastructure investment if returned with a "stable" majority government.

However, the Greens party also believes it has a chance of forming a partnership minority government.

To do this, the Greens would have to hold onto its three inner-city seats of Melbourne, Prahran and Northcote, and snap up Richmond and Brunswick.

Matthew Guy votes on November 14. Picture: Monique Hore.
Matthew Guy votes on November 14. Picture: Monique Hore.

Labor hopes to get over the line by maintaining outer Melbourne seats and the larger regional electorates.

Premier Andrews is confident he can rob the Coalition of key seats such as Burwood, South Barwon and Ripon.

News.com.au will bring election updates and breaking news throughout the day and tonight as the results begin to roll in.

 

The opposition leader was one of the 40pc of Victorians to vote early.
The opposition leader was one of the 40pc of Victorians to vote early.

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