Abbott almost certain to win, but Rudd still has fight left
TONY Abbott appears almost certain to become Australia's 28th prime minister this weekend, but the man he is aiming to replace in the top job has vowed to keep fighting for votes right up until polls close at 6pm on Saturday.
On a hectic final day of campaigning Kevin Rudd and Mr Abbott went on a media blitz in a last-ditch attempt to win over undecided voters.
Not surprisingly, given the polling, the differences in their messages and demeanours could not have been more stark.
After five weeks of campaigning a Galaxy survey published on election eve mirrored just about every poll taken this week and showed the Coalition with a comfortable 53-47% two-party-preferred lead - a 3% swing away from Labor since 2010.
A uniform swing of this size would lead to Labor losing at least 10 lower house seats.
But polling in a number of marginal seats indicates the result could be far worse for Labor.
Despite this, Mr Rudd, who spent the final day campaigning on the Central Coast, said he would spend the next 24 hours trying to win back the 400,000 voters - based on the 3% swing in the Galaxy poll - who had abandoned the party in the past three years.
"I've seen those sorts of gaps made up in the past," Mr Rudd said.
"We have so many people who are undecided out there about what Mr Abbott's massive cuts mean for them.
"I think as we get closer to the actual vote itself tomorrow people going into the polling booth will say, will his massive cuts hurt my job, will they hurt my hospital, will they hurt my school and will they rip out my broadband?"
The bookies disagree.
Sportsbet, which paid out $1.5 million to punters on a Coalition victory earlier in the campaign, had the Labor Party at $11 on Friday, while the Coalition was at the prohibitive odds of $1.03.
The news was better for Mr Rudd in his own seat of Griffith, with Sportsbet showing him as a $1.35 favourite to retain the seat compared to $3.50 for his Liberal National Party challenger Bill Glasson.
If Mr Abbott was nervous about the likelihood of stepping into the nation's most prestigious job, he was not showing it while campaigning in Melbourne.
An ebullient Mr Abbott used his final press conference of the campaign to make one last pitch to voters.
"We are a great country, we are a great people, we just can't afford another three years like the last six," Mr Abbott said.
"I do agree with Mr Rudd on just one thing. We need a new way. But the only to have a new way is to choose a new government."