Morrison victory: "I have always believed in miracles'
Scott Morrison has swept to victory in a sensational federal election result that defied the polls and cements the Coalition's power.
"How good is Australia. How good are Australians. This is the best country in the world in which to live,'' Mr Morrison said.
The Coalition is on track to win government, fending off Labor and Bill Shorten's efforts to take over as prime minister.
As it stands, the Coalition is headed to form a minority government at least, but could still reach the 76 seats needed to form a majority government.
The bombshell triumph comes after repeated polls placed the ALP ahead of the Morrison government, and the Prime Minister's demise appeared assured.
Swings to the Coalition in Queensland turned the election on its head as early figures suggested the Government could hold on.
Election experts said there would be no clear government tonight.
Labor scrutineers told news.com.au older voters have punished the party for its higher-taxing agenda. States where the economy is not thriving - such as Queensland, WA and country areas - have backed the Liberals' agenda focused on the economy and jobs.
"A bold agenda is now dead forever in Australia," a Labor scrutineer says as it became clear the election was turning against Shorten.
As the votes came in confidence began to grown among Liberal surpporters. At the official Liberal Party function in Sydney exuberant young Liberal supporters were heard chanting that the Liberals were "an election winning machine".
"Labor used to be party for the workers, now it's a party for people who don't work," one said.
Although former PM Tony Abbott lost his seat of Warringah to independent Zali Steggall, the Wentworth by-election result was reversed, with Liberal Dave Sharma reclaiming the old seat of Malcolm Turnbull from the woman who defeated him in October, Dr Kerryn Phelps.
But the swing against Labor in Queensland was devastating.
The Australian's columnist Troy Bramston says Labor figures are "stunned and shocked" at the result currently unfolding, which pretty much nobody expected.
"It looks like a diabolical night for the party," Bramston said.
ABC political editor Andrew Probyn says Labor sources are telling him their chances have been "killed" by the Coalition's preference deals with Clive Palmer's United Australia Party and Pauline Hanson's One Nation.
Results then began flowing in from the west.
Labor's Anny Aly has held on in the West Australian seat of Cowan while Patrick Gorman has also retained the seat of Perth.
The Liberal Party was won Swan, with Steve Irons being re-elected.
And Attorney-General Christian Porter has won his tough race in Pearce. Fellow minister Ken Wyatt has held on in Hasluck.
Labor gained Chisolm in Victoria. That's the seat former Liberal Julia Banks held, before deciding to contest Flinders instead. Health Minister Greg Hunt defeated her there.
The Nationals have held Cowper, fending off Rob Oakeshott.
And Liberal MP Lucy Wicks has retained Robertson.
In the days before the eleciton news.com.au's State of the Nation survey placed the Coalition ahead, however, with about 32 per cent saying the Coalition would get their vote, compared to 26 per cent for Labor.
Mr Morrison has also consistently beaten Mr Shorten in the polls as preferred PM, at 58 per cent in the State of the Nation survey compared to 42 per cent for Mr Shorten.
Labor has repeatedly beaten the Coalition in Newspoll surveys, but its leader's approval ratings trailed behind. Last week's poll showed only 38 per cent of respondents thought Mr Shorten would make the better PM to Mr Morrison's 45 per cent, although 51 per cent backed Labor to 49 per cent supporting the Coalition in the two-party preferred vote.
It was a tight race, but the news is a huge blow for Mr Shorten, who had worked hard to rehabilitate his image and appeared to grow in confidence during the campaign. His second election failure is almost certain to spell the end of his leadership, while Mr Morrison will be relieved he has helped the Coalition edge over the line to return for a third term in government.
Mr Morrison's landmark achievement has up-ended almost all commentators' predictions, proving polls and general consensus are not always correct, following a pattern of recent global surprises - including the UK's Brexit vote and the election of Donald Trump as US President.
The Prime Minister repeatedly emphasised the Coalition's strength on the economy, promising income tax cuts and lower bills while playing down the threat of climate change.
Mr Morrison was a controversial Immigration Minister under Tony Abbott after the 2013 election, implementing Operation Sovereign Borders before becoming Social Services Minister in a 2014 reshuffle. The MP for Cook in New South Wales was promoted to Treasurer when Malcolm Turnbull became prime minister in 2015, and stepped in as the compromise candidate after a Peter Dutton challenge in August 2018.
But it seems he has been underestimated. After nine months in the job, Mr Morrison has been given the seal of approval by Australia.