ABC election analyst Antony Green says Labor is on the cusp of victory and needs only two seats in Queensland to claim victory.
Mr Green says on current figures he predicts Labor winning 78 seats with a majority of six. On those figures he says he can make a cautious prediction of Labor forming a government.
Labor deputy leader Julia Gillard says the party is expecting to win five or six seats in Queensland, which would easily give labor the required number of seats for victory.
The ABC’s election computer is predicting Prime Minister John Howard will lose his seat of Bennelong to Labor’s Maxine McKew.
With almost 17 per cent of the vote counted, Ms McKew has a swing of more than 15 per cent and the computer is predicting a two-party preferred result of 52.2 per cent for the Labor candidate and former ABC journalist.
Barring a turnaround, Mr Howard is facing the prospect of becoming the first Prime Minister since 1929 to lose his seat.
The last was Stanley Bruce who, like Mr Howard, fought an election campaign dominated by industrial relations issues.
However Liberal Senator Nick Minchin says there are still 5,000 postal votes to be counted for Bennelong.
He says the area they will come from is a strong one for the Liberals, and he is hopeful those postal votes will bring a swing back to Mr Howard.
“It’s not looking good, but I would point out that postal votes are going to play an interesting role in this election,” he said.
“There were, on my count, 5,000 postal votes in Bennelong and based on the AEC’s estimates of where they’re coming from, they’re two-to-one in our favour, which on the face of it would give us a 1 per cent gain from postal votes.
“So the Labor Party, in my view, is going to need a swing of more than 5 per cent to believe it can win this.”
Labor need to win a net 16 seats to take government.
So far the ABC’s election computer has given Labor victory in nine seats formerly held by the Coalition. The computer also has Labor in a seat-winning victory in another Coalition-held seat.
In Eden-Monaro former military lawyer Mike Kelly has secured a 6 per cent swing against sitting member and Howard Government junior minister Gary Nairn with almost 35 per cent of the vote counted.
For the past 35 years the party that has won Eden-Monaro has won government.
Mr Kelly says he is very optimistic, but still thinks it is too early to celebrate.
“We’re feeling confident, but you can never be too confident in Eden-Monaro,” he said. “I don’t think you can pay too much attention to early figures in Eden-Monaro. It’s such a diverse electorate with varying booths.
“We’ll just have to track how it comes in over the evening and see where it is later on tonight.”
Counting has begun in Queensland and the Northern Territory but no meaningful figures are yet through.
Polls close in Western Australia at 8:00pm AEDT.
SOURCE : ABC ONLINE