By Paul Donoghue, Colin Gourlay, and Ben Spraggon.
1. The overall election winner
It’s the main question of the night: Labor or the Coalition?
Let’s not forget, though, that six years ago Australians just couldn’t pick a clear winner at the polls and no-one could govern in their own right. It was then up to the independents to decide who they’d back to form government, and (after a long speech by independent Rob Oakeshott) they eventually installed the Labor Gillard government.
2. Barnaby versus Tony
Deputy prime minister Barnaby Joyce is not certain of retaining his seat of New England, which he first won in 2013. His opponent: a resurgent Tony Windsor, who served in the seat for 12 years before retiring at the 2013 election.
There’s no known margin here: technically it’s a safe-as-houses Nationals seat, but that data is from a period before Windsor announced his return to the fold, so anything looks possible.
3. The X factor
South Australian independent Nick Xenophon has caused all kinds of jitters this election among the two major parties.
Polling indicates the senator’s new Nick Xenophon Team (NXT) is on track to win Upper House seats in addition to Xenophon’s own, and ABC election analyst Antony Green thinks it’s breaking down the two-party duopoly, which is pretty significant.
4. Team X takes on Pyne
Xenophon’s party is also running candidates in the Lower House, and the senator’s home turf of South Australia is its dominant target.
“That [state] may see the biggest diversion from traditional voting trends in Australia,” Antony Green told the ABC’s Party Room podcast.
Matthew Wright, an emergency room physician in Adelaide, is running against Liberal frontbencher Christopher Pyne for NXT in the east Adelaide electorate of Sturt.
5. The Greens challenge Albo
Labor favourite Anthony Albanese, who narrowly lost out on the party leadership after the last election, is facing a potentially strong Green vote in his seat of Grayndler.
Albanese, who has held the inner-Sydney seat since 1996, also lost some of his support in a redistribution after the 2013 election.
Even Sydney’s Daily Telegraph devoted its front page to the Labor MP’s plight during the campaign — but could Albo really lose this seat off an 18.8 per cent margin?
6. What about David Feeney in Batman?
The Labor MP for the seat of Batman, in Melbourne’s inner north, had an unfortunate start to the campaign: it was revealed he failed to declare a $2.3 million house as a pecuniary interest and he later struggled to articulate key party policy during an interview on Sky News.
The Greens are hoping to win the hearts of disaffected Labor voters across inner-city Melbourne, and claiming Batman from Feeney is a key part of their strategy.
7. The fate of the former PUPs
Glenn Lazarus and Jacqui Lambie were founding members of Clive Palmer’s Palmer United Party (PUP), but things went very pear-shaped and both ended up leaving — Lazarus last year and Lambie in 2014.
Lazarus, from Queensland, who quit PUP after the party sacked his wife, is contesting on behalf of the Glenn Lazarus Team. Jacqui Lambie is running as leader of the Jacqui Lambie Network.