Australia election: Polls close on east coast

  • 02/07/2016
Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and his wife Lucy cast their vote (AAP)
Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and his wife Lucy cast their vote (AAP)

Polls closed on the Australian east coast on Saturday in general elections in which the ruling Conservative coalition expected to lose ground as it seeks a second term after a divisive first three years in power.

After years of political turmoil, leaders of the nation's major parties are each promising to bring stability to a government that has long been mired in chaos.

The election, which pits the Conservative coalition government against the centre-left Labor Party, caps off an extraordinarily volatile period in the nation's politics.

Australian political parties can change their leaders under certain conditions and have done so in recent years with unprecedented frequency. Should Labor win, its leader, Bill Shorten, will become Australia's fifth prime minister in three years.

The winner will likely be known late on Saturday. West coast polls close two hours after the east coast.

A Newspoll published in The Australian newspaper on Saturday showed the coalition leading by 50.5 percent to Labor's 49.5 percent. The Newspoll was based on nationwide interviews with 4135 voters conducted between Tuesday and Friday, and has a three percentage point margin of error.

AAP