Follow all the election day action live from the first votes to the moment the winner is announced.
Good morning, welcome to our live federal election blog.
Rachel Olding will be covering the action around the country from 9am. Stephanie Peatling will jump into the hot seat from 5pm as the results start to come in.
The sausage sizzles are firing. Polling booths opened an hour ago across the country and there are already big queues in some seats.
ABC journo Andy Nehl has tweeted a photo from Kingsgrove North in the Sydney seat of Banks.
This is just half of the queue for voting at Kingsgrove North right now #Ausvotes pic.twitter.com/Ds1RbkeYm8 — Andy Nehl (@AndyNehl) September 6, 2013
There are also reports of long queues in Bondi, Penrith, Glebe and Kevin Rudd's usual voting spot on Oxford Street in Bulimba.
Big queue early on at @KRuddMP's usual voting spot. pic.twitter.com/BUQtSYZng5 — Cameron Atfield (@CameronAtfield) September 6, 2013
Apparently voters in Glebe were lining up from 6am. #ausvotes #auspol pic.twitter.com/DiVEpfZEIZ — Georgia Waters (@GeorgiaWaters) September 6
A couple of Greens protesters dressed as clown fish yelled out at Mr Abbott as he cast his vote, our Warrnigah correspondent Tony Wright reports from the scene.
They yelled out "Mr Abbott please save the Barrier Reef, please save our home" and he replied, rather oddly, "if you're ever worried about finding Nemo, we've found him."
Which seats are the ones to watch tonight?
Federal political reporter Daniel Hurst has the low-down on ten seats that will have a big impact on the results.
Tony Abbott has cast his vote just moments ago at the Freshwater Surf Club in his northern Sydney seat of Warringah.
His wife and three daughters joined him. No guesses who they voted for...
Not surprisingly, Tony Abbott began the day with his usual bike ride. He left his Forestville house at 5.15am.
The Daily Telelgraph has scrapped its page one coverage of the election in favour of the other big spill of the day, the Packer split.
Holy Matrimony! The Tele leads paper with Packer divorce over election. Possibly not what the Packers expected pic.twitter.com/M8LmzcNmCR — Annabel Crabb (@annabelcrabb) September 6, 2013
Kevin Rudd's camp is being a little guarded this morning.
Our correspondent Jacqueline Maley was told to be ready to go at 7.30am to accompany Rudd as he voted but it was called off at the last minute.
He has done interviews on Weekend Sunrise and The Today Show and is expected to vote around lunchtime i his Queensland seat of Griffith.
Meanwhile, Kevin Rudd's opponent in Griffith Bill Glasson was out at the polling booths early and has told reporters he expects the vote in Griffith to go down to the wire.
Griffith is a "safe" Labor seat with an 8.5% majority to Rudd however some polls predicted Rudd could lose the seat.
LNP Griffith candidate Bill Glasson says he expects the electorate vote will go to the wire. #auspol @couriermail pic.twitter.com/QXgKqq5Bcy — Sarah Vogler (@SarahLVogler) September 6, 2013
Let's take a look at how the major newspapers have covered the big day this morning.
On the front page of the Sydney Morning Herald, the final Fairfax-Nielsen poll predicts a swing of 4 per cent against Kevin Rudd's government which threatens to strip the ALP of future stars.
On the front page of the Australian Financial Review, Tony Abbott has vowed to step back from the spotlight if he becomes prime minister and run a "low-profile government" that will consult formally with business as part of a return to a traditional style of rule.
The Courier Mail reports that Labor legend Bob Hawke has predicted Labor will lose today's election because the ALP underestimated Tony Abbott.
The Age in Melbourne reports that Australians are preparing to sweep aside six years of Labor rule, installing Tony Abbott as the country's 28th prime minister in an electoral verdict leaving no room for doubt.
The NT News notes that today is not only election day, it's also World Beard Day.
Deputy Prime Minister Anthony Albanese is out at Summer Hill Public School in his inner western Sydney electorate of Grayndler.
He is tipped to hang on to his marginal seat which he won in 2010 with a 4.2% majority to the Greens. It's the only other seat (apart from Adam Bandt in Melbourne) with a small chance of going to the Greens.
With Oscar and Ty at Summer Hill Public School - great kids collecting for Cancer Council at polling booth pic.twitter.com/vthbtmoLsg — Anthony Albanese (@AlboMP) September 6, 2013
Greens leader and senator Christine Milne has just cast her vote at a ballot box in Hobart.
She told reporters at the scene that the Greens are looking to hold and win seats.
In Hobart, greens senator Christine Milne votes! #auspol #greens2013 pic.twitter.com/wFf21SgRVQ — Georgina Connery (@georginaconnery) September 7, 2013
The pollies aren't wasting any time this morning.
Liberal candidate Bill Glasson, Workplace Relations minister Bill Shorten and western Sydney MP David Bradbury have all just voted.
Voting @ Moonee Ponds West Primary School this morning w. Chloe #votelabor pic.twitter.com/A7NcAHhw1r — Bill Shorten (@billshortenmp) September 7, 2013
John McTernan, former communications director for Julia Gillard, has revealed that the mood in the Labor party today is "very sombre" today and they have accepted defeat.
He has told Sky News that Gillard will be keeping a low profile today and is not the kind of person to take any pleasure in Labor's demise.
The claws are out in many electorates already.
Labor has set up a big screen in the marginal western Sydney seat of Greenway with a loop of candidate Jaymes Diaz's disastrous "six points" interview.
Labor boosts Jaymes Diaz' profile on the big screen outside Greenway polling booths. #auspol #ausvotes pic.twitter.com/ajlnMqbYw1 — John Hill (@JohnHillNews) September 7, 2013
And someone has posted a disgusting racist sticker over the face of Labor candidate Jason Yat-Sen Li in the marginal seat of Bennelong.
@MartinPribble Like this? pic.twitter.com/2vV3FFMNMs — Questionable Adam (@AdamReakes) September 6, 2013
The polls have just opened in WA and voters have turned out early at polling booths across the eastern states.
There have been long queues in the seats of Melbourne and Higgins in Victoria, Reid in NSW and Dawson in Queensland.
Not sure if this is a sign of things to come #Melbourne #YouDecide9 pic.twitter.com/6Eae97i0sY — Alicia Loxley (@alicialoxley) September 6, 2013
Early long voting queue in the seat of Dawson. #AusVotes pic.twitter.com/8tu4XVID1v — Latika Bourke (@latikambourke) September 6, 2013
And long queues in Higgins. #AusVotes pic.twitter.com/NqO4nnREL2 — Latika Bourke (@latikambourke) September 6, 2013
@latikambourke and in Reid pic.twitter.com/VZOh9hjF0P — bigbeggsy (@bigbeggsy) September 6, 2013
At this early point in the day, the ABC's election team is predicting a loss of 20-30 seats for Labor.
That would boost the Coalition's number of seats up to around 90.
Labor member Matt Thistlethwaite is making a last ditch plea to voters in the seat of KINGSFORD SMITH, which is tipped to go to the Coalition. He is contesting the seat vacated by Peter Garrett.
"I think in this area people want to know who's got the best plan, particularly for service delivery and Labor is delivering more money for local schools," he said.
Surely it will help his cause that he just helped a GetUp worker who fainted!
Bipartisan help - Kingsford Smith candidates @MThistlethwaite and M Feneley assist GetUp! supporter who fainted pic.twitter.com/2k3S0hOsT2 — Alex Ellinghausen (@ellinghausen) September 7, 2013
Tony Abbott has also shown up in the marginal seat to hand out how-to-vote cards.
You've got to hand it to Kevin Rudd, he's refusing to go down without a fight.
"It's contest and the good people watching your programme have a choice to make," he told Sky News this morning. "I believe we've put our best foot forward."
Jacqueline Maley was on the campaign trail with him yesterday as he sizzled snags, took selfies and refused to admit defeat.
But, as a sign the Rudd media machine has basically eaten itself, many of the journalists' questions were about the campaign, which has been plagued with Ruddian delays, lateness and changes in direction, sometimes literally, to the chagrin of people trying to type on the bus.
Tony Abbott was approached by one woman at the Freshwater Surf Club polling booth who said she didn't know who to vote for. Abbott asked her what she believed in and after she reeled off a list of worthy concerns, he looked at her and said: "I think you'd be best off voting Green".
"The portrait of a supremely confident man," said our correspondent on the ground, Tony Wright.
Former Queensland premier Peter Beattie has slapped on some sunscreen and is out this morning at Eagleby State School in the Brisbane seat of Forde.
The seat is on a knife's edge with the Liberal MP Bert Van Manen holding it with a 1.6% majority. He is tipped to retain the seat.
Keep an eye on the seat of LINDSAY in western Sydney today.
It is held by Assistant Treasurer David Bradbury with a tiny margin of 1.1% and is tipped to fall to Liberal member Fiona Scott, who Tony Abbott infamously endorsed because of her "sex appeal".
Fiona Scott also hit the headlines for accusing boat people of clogging up freeways and emergency departments in the area.
David Bradbury has already voted and told reporters at Claremont Meadow Public School that he wouldn't be engaging in "any eleventh hour commentary" today.
"People are going to get out and have their vote today. It's a beautiful day here today," he said.
At least Zed Seselja knows he has one fan.
The Liberal senate candidate in Canberra has just cast his vote in the suburb of Gordon and had his baby daughter, Grace, by his side with a shirt saying "vote for my dad".
Have you spotted any particularly interesting campaign posters at the polling booths today?
Voters have been sending in images of these rather provocative posters seen at booths around the country.
Tony Abbott has popped up in the Labor-held seat of KINGSFORD SMITH in Sydney's eastern suburbs.
It is a marginal seat held by Labor's Matt Thistlethwaite by 5.2% and could change hands to Liberal candidate Michael Feneley.
If the final polls are correct, Tony Abbott will be the 28th prime minister of Australia tomorrow.
The Fairfax-Neilsen poll has predicted a 4 per cent swing against Kevin Rudd and has the two-party preferred vote at 54-46 to the Coalition.
The final Morgan poll found the Coalition ahead after preferences by 53.5 per cent to 46.5 per cent.
The Galaxy poll put thw two-party preferred vote at 53-47 and the Essential poll found the Coalition leading 52-48.
News Corp's Newspoll predicted Labor will lose up to 32 seats and put the two-party preferred vote at 50.1-49.9.
Bill Shorten has made a last-ditch appeal to undecided voters this morning from his Victorian seat of MARIBYRNONG which he holds with a very convincing 17.5% majority.
"This election is not over," he said. "Opinion polls are one thing but no one actually controls each individual."
The website electionsausagesizzle.com.au crashed just after 9am as people logged on to decide where to vote based on their stomach.
The site had a map displaying sausage sizzles and cake stalls at polling booths across the country, with 1470 stalls registered for Saturday.
NSW had the most stalls listed with 486 registered, while Victoria had 409.
Fancy running into you two.
This picture tweeted by Opposition Treasurer Joe Hockey from his very safe seat of NORTH SYDNEY is already being shared around as the "image of the day".
2 votes I am afraid I did not get at Northbridge Public School booth. pic.twitter.com/v1wFFmtHCG — Joe Hockey (@JoeHockey) September 7, 2013
Wayne Swan, the former Treasurer and close ally of Julia Gillard, has cast his vote in the Brisbane seat of LILLEY, which he holds by 3.2%.
"It's very quiet - volunteers said there was a mad rush this morning but it has died down," says our correspondent Amy Remeikis.
"Seems people made up their minds early," one volunteer quipped.
And we're done. Don't think he voted below the line. #election pic.twitter.com/HlnaimG04V — Amy Remeikis (@AmyRemeikis) September 7, 2013
Ah, I spoke too soon!
Kevin Rudd has just turned up at St Paul's in east Brisbane to cast his vote.
Rudd here with Therese pic.twitter.com/GbbfTNiy67 — Lanai Scarr (Vasek) (@pollietracker) September 7, 2013
So far, his only real movements have been a few breakfast TV and radio interviews this morning - a big contrast to his hectic day yesterday trying to win last minute votes in Dobell.
The battle is heating up in Liberal MP Sophie Mirabella's seat of INDI, with Coalition supporters alleged to have wallpapered polling booths in anti-independent posters, Henrietta Cook reports.
A photo has been uploaded to Twitter which appears to show Ms Mirabella taking down posters at Wangaratta TAFE- presumably after a complaints from the Australian Electoral Commission.
The AEC bans the placement of posters within six metres of the entrance of a polling booth.
But Ms Mirabella's spokesman said he was not aware of the photo or the commission's concerns about the posters.
Anne-Marie Humphries- who is a supporter for Independent Indi candidate Cathy McGowan- was picking up her daughter from Wodonga Secondary School late last night and was shocked to discover that the school has been wrapped in anti-independent posters.
She said Coalition supporters swore at the students after one of them took down an anti-independent.
"We had to calm the kids down, They were upset. Their I got the council president to come down and the principal called the police to inform of them situation. There was concern that they were breaching AEC rules and had trespassed."
No sign of Julia Gillard today. She has kept a very low profile since being defeated by Kevin Rudd in the leadership spill.
She has gone out with dignity and class, Julia Baird writes in a great opinion piece.
The seat of McMAHON in NSW is one to watch closely.
It is held by Kevin Rudd's close supporter and treasurer Chris Bowen with a 7.8 per cent margin but he is facing a strong battle from Liberal challenger and former cop Ray King.
The pair have been engaged in a mud-slinging match in the past two weeks with King accused of fraternising with corrupt cop Roger Rogerson and Bowen accused of having links to the killer behind Australia's first political assassination.
Chris Bowen has been out and about this morning. The loss of this seat to Liberal challenger Ray King would strip Labor of a potential future leader.
The seat of LA TROBE in Victoria is another one that will be very close.
There have been huge queues at polling booths in the marginal seat this morning.
It is held by Labor member Laura Smyth with a 1.7% majority. Bookies have tipped it to go to Liberal candidate Jason Wood, who has been out on the hustings at Timbarra Primary School.
I can inform you that the rapidly disappearing Liberal candidate Jaymes "six pointless" Diaz has not yet been spotted this morning.
Our operatives have been out in his seat of GREENWAY this morning, the most marginal in the state which is tipped to go to Diaz.
Opposition treasurer Joe Hockey has cast his vote in his seat of NORTH SYDNEY. No fireworks expected there. Hockey holds the seat with a comfortable 14.1% majority.
Kevin Rudd has kept a strangely low profile this morning.
His opponent Bill Glasson has cast his vote at Whites Hill State College at Camp Hill, in Brisbane's east.
Dr Glasson, a former president of the Australian Medical Association, said he did not expect to be rewarded with a ministry should he become just the third person in Australian history to topple a sitting Prime Minister.
“If I was successful, I’ll be on the trainer wheels for three years at least,” he said. “The whole idea of the next three years is, again, to get around Griffith as much as possible, meet as many people as possible and gain the trust of the electorate as much as possible.”
Mr Rudd is yet to appear at his usual voting booth at Oxford Street, Bulimba.
The cafes around St John the Baptist Church are doing a roaring trade as people hope to see Prime Minister Kevin Rudd for, possibly, the very last time, our Brisbane correspondent Cameron Atfield reports.
In the marginal and critical seat of McMAHON, four black mopeds towing advertising hoardings behind them have disrupted Treasurer Chris Bowen's morning.
The ads read "The Rudd Labor governments changes to fringe benefit tax'. Who's next?" and one of the helmeted moped riders, Barlow Redfearn, has told our McMahon correspondent Tim Barlass that they had been hired (at $200 for the day each) to tour Mr Bowen's electorate.
"Obviously western Sydney the Libs think is going to decide the election and they think this is a vulnerable seat so thought they would try and put the final nail in the coffin," he said.
Bowen, positioning himself away from the protest, said, "it doesn't bother me in the slightest".
The seat of MELBOURNE is definitely one to watch.
Adam Bandt became the first Greens member to enter the lower house in a general election in 2010 with a margin of 5.9% but he faces a steeper battle this time with the Liberals recommending voters preference Labor candidate Cath Bowtell over the Greens in Melbourne.
Mr Bandt has seized on polling showing many Liberal supporters will ignore that advice - but Labor is favoured in the betting on this seat.
Never fear, sausage sizzle fans.
The website electionsausagesizzle.com.au may have crashed but we have been informed of a neat little app called Rate the Sizzle, which enables people to rate the quality of the sausage sizzle at each polling location.
The app's creators will be awarding some Golden Tongs to the sausage sizzle that got the most votes when they are tallied by Monday.
Liberal candidate Fiona Scott has cast her vote in the marginal seat of LINDSAY. She is a strong change of defeating Assistant Treasurer David Bradbury, who holds the seat with a 1.1 per cent majority.
It's a race to the end indeed.
Nova Peris, the ALP Senate Candidate for the Northern Territory, has participated in a celebrity 100-metre dash at the NT Little Athletics Championships in Darwin.
Despite being former Prime Minister Julia Gillard's "captain's pick" for a Northern Territory seat, Peris faces a tough battle. Dan Harrison spent a week on the campaign trail in the NT and filed this great report.
Former Queensland premier Peter Beattie, who was parachuted in to try to win the Brisbane seat of FORDE, has not quite admitted defeat but he was sounding a little circumspect a few moments ago.
He has said he faced a ‘‘bloody difficult’’ task in trying to win the seat of Forde, south of Brisbane, held by the Liberal National Party on just a 1.6 per cent margin.
He said voters were worried about potential cuts under an Abbott government but also tired of ‘‘the ongoing leadership fights in the Labor party’’.
Asked if it was a mistake to return Mr Rudd to the leadership in June, Mr Beattie said: ‘‘Let’s see the result; I’m happy to answer that question tomorrow or tonight.’’
Mr Beattie said Labor needed to reconnect with working families as people were worried about jobs.
Refugee protesters have heckled Tony Abbott at a polling booth at Athelstane Public School in Arncliffe (in the seat of BARTON held by Labor's Robert McClelland who is retiring and making way for Steve McMahon).
Abbott's security personnel whisked him away and had to hold the crowd back as some scuffles broke out.
"He had plenty of his own supporters too but various independents and a strong contingent of Labor people were telling him to go back to the north shore," our man on the ground, Tony Wright, said.
Protesters shouted "refugees are welcome, Abbott is not". A
Kevin Rudd still has not cast his vote while his opponent Tony Abbott voted before 9am and has been running around to marginal seats in Sydney.
He's just been spotted leaving an office building in Brisbane.
Every dog has its day...?
This furry fan was spotted in Kevin Rudd's Brisbane seat of GRIFFITH with a Labor how-to-vote card tucked into his collar but plenty of voters weren't doing the same.
There is a real chance the Prime Minister might lose his seat to the Liberal candidate Bill Glasson.