How Labor won – ABC News

Home Australia News How Labor won – ABC News
How Labor won – ABC News

The Australian people have spoken, and the next prime minister of Australia will be Anthony Albanese.

So how did it all unfold?

At the moment we don’t know whether Labor will govern with a majority, or with the aid of some of the independents or Greens who’ll be sitting on the crossbenches.

But what we do know is this is a devastating loss for the Coalition after almost a decade in power.

Let’s have a look at the electorate map. (You might notice it looks a little unusual, but that’s for good reason. Here’s why.)

Each of these little hexagons is a seat, filled with 105,000 or so voters, and to form government the aim is to win a majority — at least 76 seats out of 151 total.

A map of Australia with each seat divided into hexagons.

The Coalition went into the election holding exactly 76.

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By the end of the night, it was slashed to just 50 certain seats, and ahead in another six.

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That would still leave it short of the 65 it held when Kevin Rudd led Labor to a crushing victory in 2007.

But this hasn’t been a landslide like Kevin07, instead it’s something more interesting — and perhaps more tectonic for the future of Australian politics.

A lot of the seats the Coalition lost were on big margins, had never been lost, and were held by senior Liberals.

And they didn’t all fall to Labor, instead going to independents, known as the ‘teal wave’, and in at least one seat to the Greens.

The newly victorious independents campaigned heavily on climate change and political integrity — and all of them are women.

For decades the Coalition has sowed division on climate change as a means to win government, but at this election climate campaigners have been instrumental in its defeat.

While these independents have mostly seized Liberal seats, they’ve also done so at the cost of Labor’s primary vote, as traditional Labor voters chose to strategically support the independents.

Coming into the election, there were six MPs outside of Labor and the Coalition.

It is now looking entirely possible that in the next Parliament there could be as many as 16.

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On Sydney’s northern beaches, independents Kylea Tink and Sophie Scamps have seized the seats of North Sydney and Mackellar off the Liberal Party, ejecting Trent Zimmerman and Jason Falinski.

Allegra Spender has also toppled Dave Sharma in Wentworth, returning the once-safe Liberal seat into independent hands.

Further west, Dai Le captured the seat of Fowler, but off the ALP, after Labor tried to inject an outsider in Kristina Keneally into the seat.

They’ll all join sitting independent MP Zali Steggall, who has retained Warringah with an increased margin over controversial Liberal Katherine Deves.

In Victoria, Monique Ryan is ahead of Josh Frydenberg in Kooyong, where the man often touted as the next Liberal leader all but conceded it would be impossible for him to win.

And former ABC journalist Zoe Daniel took Goldstein from Tim Wilson after a bruising campaign.

Helen Haines retains the independent stronghold of Indi, which she took over from Cathy McGowan in 2019, while the Greens’ Adam Bandt also retained Melbourne.

In Brisbane, without any high-profile ‘teal’ candidates, the Greens have shot up and surprised the major parties, as voters went to the polls just three months after major flooding hit the city for the second time in 11 years.

Greens challenger Elizabeth Watson-Brown snatched the suburban seat of Ryan off the LNP, and her colleague Stephen Bates is within reach of taking another seat off the LNP’s Queensland pile, the inner-city division of Brisbane.

(Worth noting: we’re showing seats which are too close to call, but where one candidate is ahead, with a little coloured outline.)

The Greens also look to have turfed Labor from another inner Brisbane stronghold: Kevin Rudd’s old seat of Griffith.

Elsewhere in Queensland, Bob Katter held Kennedy for the 10th-straight election.

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The teal wave stretched beyond the eastern states.

In Western Australia, independent Kate Chaney looks likely to unseat the Liberals’ Celia Hammond in Curtin. More on that later.

In Tasmania, independent Andrew Wilkie has retained Clark while in South Australia the Centre Alliance’s Rebekha Sharkie held Mayo.

So where did that leave Labor?

Coming into the 2022 election, Labor had to increase its total number of seats by seven in order to govern in its own right.

Losing Fowler, despite a 14 per cent margin, and likely Griffith in Brisbane, left the ALP needing to pick up nine seats elsewhere to form a majority. 

This was no easy task on a night when the teals and Greens were picking up seats all over the country.

The Liberals — facing likely losses in WA and Qld — pinned their hopes on New South Wales. But a chaotic preselection process in many seats, and a divisive but ultimately unsuccessful candidate in Warringah, were too much to overcome. 

Not only did the Liberals not gain any seats from Labor in NSW, they actually lost two.

Voters in the outer Sydney seat of Robertson kept their bellwether status by giving the seat to Labor with a swing of nearly 9 per cent.

And in western Sydney, Labor’s Sally Sitou took Reid with a swing of more than 8 per cent.

The gains continued further south.

In a sign that the Liberals had lost touch with their base, Labor took a seat off them in Victoria for the first time in decades. Not once, but twice.

Higgins — former treasurer Peter Costello’s old seat in Melbourne’s inner south-east — turned red, as did the seat of Chisholm with a 6.8 per cent swing. 

Rounding out the biggest states was Queensland, where Labor is still in with a shot in Brisbane.

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A win there would offset its loss in Griffith, leaving the sunshine state just as red, but significantly more green.

In the territories Labor also looks likely to continue its hold, but the seat of Lingiari where Marion Scrymgour is hoping to take over from veteran MP Warren Snowdon is too close to call.

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Away from the big three states, the unusual trends of the night continued as Tasmania, which was talked about as possibly delivering seats to Labor, went its own way.

Liberal Bridget Archer looks like she’ll hold Bass, after standing up to her party on key issues. But it’s still too close to call in the Tasmanian seat of Lyons, where Brian Mitchell is barely ahead after a swing of nearly 5 per cent.

But further west, Labor’s fortunes picked up. The ALP won Boothby in South Australia, and is ahead in Sturt.

By the time polls closed in Western Australia, it was clear the Coalition couldn’t form government, and Labor’s hopes for a majority rested on a big swing from voters out West.

Boy did they deliver.

Hasluck, Swan, Pearce and Tangney all swept to Labor thanks to a statewide swing of nearly 11 per cent against the Coalition, much larger than on the east coast.

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And the final nail in the coffin for the Coalition was a real kicker.

The seat of Curtin, once held by deputy leader Julie Bishop, has been in Liberal hands since its inception in 1949, apart from one three-year term.

On a night when Australian voters made it clear they’re prepared to throw out the status quo when they feel the major parties aren’t listening to them, Curtin looks likely to send independent MP Kate Chaney to Canberra.

So where does this leave us? Let’s clear the map and lay out where things stand.

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Labor has 72 seats, four short of a majority, but is the only viable option to form a government.

That leaves us with 15 seats in doubt, according to the ABC election computer.

If Labor can hold onto the seats of Lingiari and Lyons, where it currently leads, then it will need just two more from the remaining 13 to govern in its own right.

While Labor is currently ahead in enough seats to form a majority, there is no guarantee these leads will hold as more votes are counted.

While the election may not deliver a clear majority for Labor, when you look at the issues that motivated candidates, you have a large parliamentary majority united in their desire for stronger action on climate change, and establishing a corruption watchdog.

Former prime minister Paul Keating famously said, if you change the government you change the country, and Saturday was no different.

Here’s how Australia started the day.

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And here’s how we finished the night.

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