Receive Breaking News updates as they occur
CANBERRA, Australia (AP) — Polls have 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.
Voting stations in the crucial states of Queensland and New South Wales shut at 6:00 pm (0800 GMT), along with Victoria, Tasmania and the Australian Capital Territory, with those on the west coast to close two hours later. Early exit polls showed conservative leader Malcolm Turnbull, who has the backing of the nation's powerful media, and Labor challenger Bill Shorten in a dead heat. A poll by Channel Nine of 25 marginal seats taken before voting ended showed the two major parties at 50-50, reinforcing the closeness of the eight-week campaign where neither man has been able to decisively take the lead.