Labor’s Julia Gillard may have (1) been the first Australian PM to lose a first term majority, (2) lost the primary vote by 500,000 and (3) lost on second preferences too, but with the support of a handful of independent MPs, and by the offer of pork bribes, she will cling to power. At least for now.

Opposition leader Tony Abbott has responded:

“I believe we will be an even more effective opposition in the coming parliament than in the last one. We will give credit where its due, for the extent it doesn’t, we will hold (the government) ferociously to account.”

“The longest election is finally over. It’s a disappointing day, it’s a disappointing result but nevertheless I could not have asked for more support from my colleagues, my staff and the party at large.”

“For our country’s sake, I hope the Labor party can offer a better government than it has over the last three years. For our country’s sake, I hope the Labor party can discover the soul it has been lacking.”

5.45pm: Video from Wall Street Journal:

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