Labor ahead in election despite swing against it

10:45 pm on 21 August 2010

With more than half the votes counted in the Australian federal election, the governing Labor Party was projected to win 68 seats to the opposition Coalition's 62, despite a 5.3% swing against it.

The projections by the ABC were based on 58.2% of the vote having been counted by 10.40pm NZ time.

Fourteen million voters cast their ballots on Saturday, and 76 seats are required for a majority in the House of Representatives.

The swing to the Coalition was 1.5% but the swing to the Greens was more than twice that - 3.8%. In the event of a 1.6% swing to the Coalition when all the votes have been counted, there will be a hung Parliament.

On the basis of exit polls Sky News was forecasting that Labor will finish with 51% of the vote against the Coalition's 49%.

At 8.40pm AEST (10.40pm NZ time) the ABC was giving Labour 38.1% of the vote, the Coalition 43.7% and the Greens a historic high of 11.6%.

Though the Greens were on course to win only one or two seats in the lower House, they may well hold the balance of power in the Senate.