6 of the biggest election night surprises that have left Australians stunned

Malcolm Turnbull. Photo: Brendon Thorne/Getty Images

1. It’s so tight no one can quite believe it

This wasn’t supposed to happen, despite the polls, most people expected a result by around 9.30pm tonight. Instead, it’s groundhog day and 2010 all over again.

Politics has now been a state of permanent flux for nearly a decade. Kevin 07’s emphatic win vanished in 2010 under Gillard, who managed to form minority government, only to lose the leadership to Kevin Rudd once again, who was subsequently smashed by Abbott. Now he’s gone, after Turnbull offered a promise not dissimilar to Gillard’s six years earlier – as the only option to keep their respective parties in power – and here comes 2010 all over again.

Business often talks about disruption, and the displaced workforces that result as a consequence. Why should politics not reflect the rest of the economy and society? If everyday jobs aren’t safe, MPs shouldn’t expect their jobs to be either. Get used to it.

At 10.30pm, it’s starting to look like the Coalition would have just 74 seats to Labor’s 71.

2. Labor’s done better in Queensland than anyone thought possible

Everyone used to talk about the Kevin Rudd factor. His departure from politics doesn’t seem to have worried the Maroons, with swings to Labor in 26 of the 30 seats, and potentially grabbing four seats: Capricornia, Forde, Herbert and Longman, which would end the career of innovation minister and parliament’s youngest MP, Wyatt Roy.

But the national shift away from the majors is also there too, with the Greens potentially picking up a second senator, and independent MP Bob Katter showing that releasing a youtube video shooting the ALP and LNP was perfectly pitched to his FNQ constituents in Kennedy, with a 9.5% swing in his favour taking his vote to nearly 62%.

And then there’s No. 3…

3. Pauline Hanson is back

Photo: Getty Images / File

Twenty years after the Ipswich fish and chip shop owner first became a federal MP for Oxley, the One Nation founder looks like she’s back in politics yet again, this time as a senator. Despite pledges to never return, the perennial failed candidate is back in favour in Queensland and finally hit the jackpot, with 1.4 of a quota for the senate, potentially delivering her a second senate seat thanks to the double dissolution election.

She’s certainly looking at picking up a senate seat in NSW.

That’s a huge turnaround from the 1.22% of first preferences the 62-year-old attracted standing for the senate in NSW in 2013.

4. Labor MP Michael Danby might elect a Liberal

Michael Danby has been the MP for Melbourne Ports for 18 years. An outspoken right wing member of the ALP, his visceral loathing of the Greens saw him ignore his own party to direct preferences to the Liberals over the Greens, who are threatening Labor on several fronts.

With around half the vote counted, the swing to the Liberals is around 2.5%, but it gets interesting because the total swing against Danby is around 5%, who has about 27% of the primary vote, while the Greens scored around a 4% increase for 26%, and the Liberals, which picked up around 1.5%, have 40%.

The Greens have hammered Labor around Melbourne. Adam Bandt is back as the MP for Melbourne on an increased margin, and the negatively geared property owner David Feeney is only just clinging to his seat of Batman after a swing of more than 10% to the Greens.

Incidentally, Indi in north-east Victoria, which Liberal Sophie Mirabella lost by the slimmest of margins to independent Cathy McGowan in 2010, has reelected McGowan with a 4.7% swing in her favour

And rubbing salt into Liberal wounds, the Nationals have taken the rural seat of Murray, with a 27% swing when Sharman Stone retired after 20 years.

5. Voters ignored pleas from the two major parties to chose between them

Despite the pleading from both sides to vote one way or the other, the electorate’s basically told the major parties to get stuffed.

Both side promised they wouldn’t form minority government. They made it clear voters had to chose.

They did. Just like 2010, it looks like they don’t want either of them, a fact reinforced by the low popular support for both leaders and the primary votes for both sides.

Labor’s primary vote is at its second lowest level ever, underperformed only by Kevin Rudd.

The lower house primary vote figures are thus, with around 70% of the vote counted:

The Coalition was 42% of the vote nationally, down 3.6%

Labor Party has 34.9%, up 1.5%.

The Greens are up 1.5% to 10.2%.

While Palmer United’s 5.7% from 2013 disappeared, debutante Xenophon Team picked up 2% and the “others” including Pauline Hanson, are up 4% to an astonishing 11.1%.

This is a disaster for Malcolm Turnbull’s leadership, primarily because the right wing of his party will be out for revenge.

If voters are forced to go back to the polls, the Coalition’s ability to present a unified front would be under enormous pressure.

6. Labor’s Medicare scare worked

If you’re to believe the Liberal line, hammering Medicare worked.

The Liberals are blaming the ALP’s “Medicare scare” for the poor result. Foreign minister Julie Bishop said tonight that voters “were scared stiff about the Medicare issue” adding it was raised with her by a number of people at polling booths.

The Liberal line is now “Labor have been boasting about the number of people they’ve deceived”. Bishop said it, a claim backed up by treasurer Scott Morrison.

Mathias Cormann did too, saying that Labor strategists were patting themselves on the back and it’s “quite unbelievable and breathtaking”.

When journalist Annabel Crabb suggested voters had “learnt over time to be suspicious when you rule out things such as no cuts to health and education”, as former PM Tony Abbott did, emphatically, on the eve of the 2013 election, only to break that promise, Morrison rejected the notion.

NOW WATCH: Briefing videos

Business Insider Emails & Alerts

Site highlights each day to your inbox.

Follow Business Insider Australia on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram.