Pressure On Malcolm Turnbull As Labor Wins Four Super Saturday By-Elections

    There were joyous scenes on Saturday night among Labor supporters after the party retained its four seats. Centre Alliance's Rebekha Sharkie also won in Mayo.

    (AAP Image/Dan Peled)

    Labor's Susan Lamb celebrates winning the seat of Longman.

    What Happened:

    • Labor's Susan Lamb delivered a victory speech alongside leader Bill Shorten in Longman after LNP candidate Trevor Ruthenberg conceded.
    • Labor’s Justine Keay has claimed victory in the seat of Braddon. Liberal Brett Whiteley has yet to concede.
    • Centre Alliance's Rebekha Sharkie won in Mayo, with the Liberal candidate Georgina Downer conceding defeat.
    • Labor also retained Perth and Fremantle in Western Australia.
    • Shorten described the results as a "Super Saturday night".
    • The elections had been billed as a test of Bill Shorten's leadership of the Labor party. The narrative has instead turned to the performance of prime minister Malcolm Turnbull and his government.


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    Tune in to OzPol Live now. You can watch the Twitter show below.

    Oz Pol Live - Super Sunday Brunch

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    Here's BuzzFeed's Lane Sainty and Brad Esposito talking through the best of the memes during the election campaign in a segment known as... Talking Memes.

    In this week's episode of Talking Memes, @braddybb talks #SuperSaturday memes with BuzzFeed Australia reporter @LaneSainty. #BFOzPolLive

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    Another reminder that at 11am AEST - BuzzFeed News' live Twitter show is bringing you Super Saturday reaction and analysis with all these people:

    11am. TODAY. On @BuzzFeedOzPol. BYO hangover cure. @AmyRemeikis @samdastyari @evmulholland @benraue #BFOzPol #SuperSaturday #ausvotes

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    If you're wondering what former prime minister Tony Abbott has been up to this weekend, here you go:

    A big thank you to @ForestRugby in their 60th year for the chance to run on in third grade today. It was eight minutes of pure pleasure before age caught up with me.

    Eight minutes though...

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    Meanwhile, minister for defence industry Christopher Pyne reckons Georgina Downer is "Cabinet material".

    Christopher Pyne says Georgina Downer is a sensational candidate: "Georgina is very smart, very articulate and able. She will be a great member of Parliament. She's Cabinet material. But it's very hard to dislodge independents in rural seats." #auspol #insiders

    Reminder: Centre Alliance's Rebekha Sharkie easily defeated Downer in the seat of Mayo yesterday.

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    The government's company tax cuts and how badly they were reportedly received by the electorate is definitely the theme of the morning. Will they survive after Super Saturday?

    .@David_Speers says a number of government sources have told him they cannot go to the general election promising a big business tax cut. MORE: #SpeersonSunday

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    Was it all worth it?

    I'm really glad we went to all this trouble, just to return all four of the MPs forced to resign from parliament due to the dual citizenship saga 🙃

    Malcolm Turnbull may well be asking himself that question this morning.

    At the end of the day, absolutely nothing has changed and a huge amount has been spent on election campaigns.

    And remember these elections could have taken place a lot earlier, if it hadn't been recommended by the speaker of the House of Representatives, Tony Smith, on the recommendation of the Australian Electoral Commission to hold them at the end of July.

    At the time Labor were super pissed given this weekend should have been when they had their National Conference. And the government seemed very happy with the longer election campaigns.

    Wonder what they think now.

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    Good morning all. Anyone heard from the prime minister?

    This result is a tough one to spin for the Coalition. Especially in Queensland. It’s very telling that we’ve seen nothing from the Prime Minister. No statement, no tweet. Nothing @SkyNewsAust #supersaturday

    It's fair to say Labor is also enjoying asking:

    Is someone looking for Malcolm. Is he...dare I say it....a “missing man”. #auspol

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    Remember to tune in to OzPol Live on Twitter at 11am AEST on Sunday, where BuzzFeed News will continue to bring you all the reaction and analysis.

    LIVE. SUNDAY. 11am. BYO hangover cure. #BFOzPol

    Politics editor Alice Workman will be joined by Labor senator Doug Cameron, Evan Mulholland from the Institute of Public Affairs, former Labor senator Sam Dastyari, Guardian political reporter Amy Remeikis and electoral analyst Ben Raue.

    - Rich James

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    I think we're pretty much there tonight folks.

    To wrap-up:

    Labor won back all four seats it held before the mass resignations in May.

    Susan Lamb won the Queensland seat of Longman. The real story there though was the performance of LNP candidate Trevor Ruthenberg, whose drop in the primary vote share will be of concern to the government with a federal election around the corner. Queensland is vitally important to their election chances.

    Labor’s Justine Keay has claimed victory over Liberal Brett Whiteley in the seat of Braddon. The overall results did not shift much since 2016, but there was a very strong performance from independent candidate Craig Garland claiming over 10% of the primary vote. Gardland's preferences went to Labor.

    The rest of the elections went as expected. Centre Alliance's Rebekha Sharkie easily won back her seat in Mayo, with Liberal candidate Georgina Downer never really in the running.

    Meanwhile, Patrick Gorman in Perth and Josh Wilson in Fremantle were always going to win for Labor.

    And so all the attention turns firmly onto Malcolm Turnbull and what these results mean. The government is already telling anyone who will listen that it's been almost 100 years since a government won a by-election seat off the opposition and that Labor should have always won tonight.

    Given how closely the polls were tracking in the previous weeks though, there will be serious questions asked about what happened - especially in Longman. It won't be long before certain figures (mentioning no names, Tony Abbott) have their say on what it means for the government's performance and their hopes at the upcoming federal election.

    Meanwhile, Bill Shorten will be a relieved man this evening. All the talk before today was about what it would mean for his leadership if Labor were to lose Longman or Braddon, or even both. Instead, all the talk now is about Turnbull, with Shorten declaring the results are as a "signpost" to a Labor government after the next federal election.

    - Rich James

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    And here's a rather unfortunately demonic picture of Labor's Patrick Gorman in Perth. Surely someone should have checked that lighting??

    Sky News
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    Jenna Guillaume is back with some more light relief - this time the best of Twitter on the night.

    Click on the link for 14 of the best tweets about Super Saturday.

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    Some more compare and contrast pictures of the scenes in Longman - where Susan Lamb delivered a victory for Labor and the LNP's Trevor Ruthenberg saw the party's vote share drop significantly.

    Dan Peled / AAPIMAGE

    Labor's Susan Lamb is cheered by supporters as she arrives for the party's by-election night function in Caboolture, north of Brisbane, Queensland.

    Darren England / AAPIMAGE

    LNP candidate for Longman, Trevor Ruthenberg, is seen conceding defeat at the LNP post election party at the Centenary Lakes Sports Club in Caboolture, north of Brisbane, Queensland.

    Mick Tsikas / AAPIMAGE

    Labor candidate for Longman Susan Lamb and Leader of the Opposition Bill Shorten claim victory in the seat of Longman.

    Darren England / AAPIMAGE

    LNP supporters are seen looking on as LNP candidate for Longman, Trevor Ruthenberg, concedes defeat.

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    What happened in Longman??

    The story of the night is the performance of the LNP in Longman (Queensland).

    Trevor Ruthenberg is tracking at just over 25% of the primary vote, down some 10%.

    Big Trev mentioned the scandal involving his military medal in his concession speech. Labor claim the results showed voters were unhappy at the government's tax plans.

    Meanwhile, the One Nation vote was up some 6% to around 15%, despite party leader Pauline Hanson deciding to go on a cruise the week before polling day.

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    Labor's Justine Keay tells Sky News: "Yes, it seems quite clear that Labor has retained the seat of Braddon."

    Keay says voters have sent a very strong message to prime minister Malcolm Turnbull.

    Like Lamb she references the government's tax cuts.

    She concedes that the Labor primary vote is down in Braddon but points to the popularity of the independent candidate Craig Garland.

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    Look, there is still a fair bit of counting to go - but it's fair to say Labor will retain Perth and Fremantle.


    Labor's Josh Wilson declares victory in Fremantle. Says he's humbled to again be trusted with the task @SkyNewsAust

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    Another reminder for you - tune in tomorrow at 11am on Twitter for our latest live show for all the reaction and analysis.

    Haven't kept up with the drama from Super Saturday? We got you covered! Tune in from 11am on Sunday @buzzfeedOzPol for results, analysis, wild leadership speculation and political smoothies! Feat @workmanalice @samdastyari @amyremeikis @benraue @evmulholland #BZOzPol

    Politics editor Alice Workman will be joined by Labor senator Doug Cameron, Evan Mulholland from the Institute of Public Affairs, former Labor senator Sam Dastyari, Guardian political reporter Amy Remeikis and electoral analyst Ben Raue.

    • Rich James
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    So how will these by-elections be remembered?

    • The day Bill Shorten ended any speculation over his leadership of the Labor party?

    • Big Trev's medal cock-up?

    • The Pauline Hanson cut-outs?

    • The prime minister's interactions with the public as voters went to the polls?

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    Labor's Justine Keay is delivering a speech in Ulverstone, Tasmania. As previously mentioned, Liberal Brett Whiteley has not yet conceded.

    Keay says people in all five electorates have sent a “clear message” to Malcolm Turnbull - hospitals & schools before the banks #auspol

    Labor are enjoying their evening.

    Congratulations to all the @AustralianLabor winners tonight. They each waged strong campaigns that spoke to the issues that matter. A great result for @billshortenmp and the entire the Labor team.

    I forget....was this meant to be a referendum on something? Anyone? #auspol

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    Here's some light relief.

    Jenna Guillaume and Jenna Clarke have taken a deep dive into the democracy sausages on show today.

    There are some fine efforts on show, there are also some real disappointments.

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    Susan Lamb says it is an "absolutely amazing result for Labor and for Longman".

    Lamb says the result sent a message to [prime minister] Malcolm Turnbull:

    "Stop giving big banks a tax cut and start funding our schools and hospitals"

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    Meanwhile, Brett Whiteley is speaking in Braddon.

    He doesn’t appear to be conceding though, says: “We’re close, but maybe not close enough.”

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    Every word in Bill Shorten's speech is meet with cheers.

    Shorten talks about the results being a signpost towards a "Labor government after the next general election".

    The Labor leader says the party has had "two great wins already and I’m hearing pretty good things from Western Australia as well".

    Shorten pledges to fight inequality and declares "it is never about us, it is always about you - the people of Australia."

    Bill Shorten and Susan Lamb arrive at the Longman party

    .@billshortenmp: We will continue the work of putting together a policy agenda for a next Labor national government. MORE: #SuperSaturday #auspol

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    Labor leader Bill Shorten and victorious candidate Susan Lamb have arrived in Caboolture to huge celebrations.

    "We want Lamb, we want Lamb, we want Lamb," the crowd chants.

    Expect Shorten to have plenty to say about the government and prime minister Malcolm Turnbull's leadership.

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    Trevor “Big Trev” Ruthenberg is speaking in Queensland.

    The LNP candidate admits he has congratulated Susan Lamb on her victory.

    In his concession speech he makes a specific reference to medal-gate (as I'm calling it), which appears to have had an impact on his campaign.

    - Rich James

    I think most Australians know my service history. (LAUGHTER)

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    A tale of two pictures. These are the scenes in Queensland right now, where Labor's Susan Lamb is projected to win the seat of Longman.

    Mick Tsikas / AAPIMAGE

    Labor supporters react at the Caboolture RSL Club in Caboolture, north of Brisbane, Queensland.

    Darren England / AAPIMAGE

    LNP supporters are seen at the LNP post election party in the electorate of Longman at the Centenary Lakes Sports Club in Caboolture.

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    Polls, eh, who'd believe them?

    Electoral analyst Ben Raue warned earlier this week that polls shouldn't always be trusted.

    And good news! You can hear more from Ben on BuzzFeed News' live Twitter show tomorrow where we'll be discussing the results and what they all mean.

    Tomorrow is SUPER SATURDAY but the real fun is happening on Sunday! Tune in from 11am on Sunday @buzzfeedOzPol for results, analysis, wild leadership speculation and political smoothies! Feat @workmanalice @samdastyari @amyremeikis @benraue @evmulholland #BZOzPol

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    In Longman, the One Nation candidate Matthew Stephen tells Sky News' David Speers: “Mate, I’m like a lost kid in a candy store.”

    Stephen says the party now needs to be treated with respect.

    The One Nation vote could be up by as much as 6% to around 15%.

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    Centre Alliance Rebekha Sharkie thanks her supporters in her victory speech.

    “HERE WE GO!” she shouts after her microphone is turned on.

    She says it was a marathon campaign and the result was achieved by “people power”.

    “Tonight we have shown that you don’t need huge wads of money… what you need are people who are passionate and people who care.

    “I was crushed the day I resigned, but today is really sweet.”

    - Rich James

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    Downer reveals she has conceded the Mayo election to Sharkie.

    She repeats the line that by-elections are always tough for the government.

    Malcolm Turnbull on 12 July said #SuperSaturday byelections were a referendum on leadership. Bit awks now.

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    Georgina Downer is now preparing to speak in Mount Barker, south Australia.

    Sky News is reporting Downer has called Centre Alliance’s Rebekha Sharkie to concede.

    - Rich James

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    Here's shadow treasurer Chris Bowen reaction to what we're seeing tonight.

    Malcolm Turnbull said these by-elections were a referendum on leadership. Labor is winning four and the Libs can’t regain the formerly safe seat of Mayo. #goodonyoumalcolm

    Meanwhile, the government is turning back to repeating the fact that governments always performs badly in by-elections.

    - Rich James

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    BuzzFeed News' Lane Sainty reports on the scene at the party for Labor's Justine Keay in Braddon.

    Cheers at Justine Keay’s party as revellers spot themselves on the ABC broadcast. It’s kind of like the kisscam of #auspol

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    What do we think this man has to say about it all?

    Mick Tsikas / AAPIMAGE

    Former prime minister Tony Abbott at the Woodford cattle sales yards in Woodford.

    If the narrative turns to Malcolm Turnbull's leadership then you can bet it won't be long till we heard from Tony.

    - Rich James

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    So now all the voting has finished.

    Labor is expected to easily retain Perth and Fremantle, with Patrick Gorman and Josh Wilson being elected.

    - Rich James

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    At the start of the day everyone expected the focus to be on Labor's Bill Shorten. But what does all of this mean for prime minister Malcolm Turnbull?

    If these predictions are to be believed the pressure could instead be on Turnbull.

    What we're seeing so far out of Queensland is that the LNP primary vote could be down as much as 10%.

    "This is bad news from Malcolm Turnbull," Labor's Ed Husic says on the ABC.

    Tonight was supposed to end in speculation over Shorten's leadership, instead the narrative has now switched to what went wrong for the LNP after the polls showed the contests were primed to be so close.

    Queensland, so important to the federal election, will be a real concern for the government if the final results match the current projections.

    - Rich James

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    So much for close elections?

    The media (yes that’s me too) spent 90pc of its pre poll analysis predicated on labor losing at least one seat. What a waste of your time.

    The ABC's Antony Green is predicting the LNP may only get up to around 30% of the primary vote in Longman.

    Independent candidate Craig Garland's preferences are being seen as key in helping Labor retain Braddon.

    - Rich James

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    Green calls another - this time Longman for Labor’s Susan Lamb.

    The story of the night in Queensland appears to be a swing to Labor on primary votes.

    Did medal-gate ruined the Liberals’ Trevor Ruthenberg campaign?

    Malcolm Turnbull’s argument with a voter about whether or not he’s telling the truth. It went on for a bit longer than this... #supersaturday #auspol

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    And while you're here - another reminder that we've got a live show for you tomorrow!

    Haven't kept up with the drama from #SuperSaturday? We got you covered! Tune in HERE from 11am on Sunday for #auspol results, analysis, wild leadership speculation and political smoothies! Feat @workmanalice @samdastyari @amyremeikis @benraue @evmulholland #BZOzPol

    On Sunday we’re bringing you the latest addition of our live Twitter show OzPol Live where all the results and reaction will be discussed in detail.

    Tune in from 11am. Alice will be joined by Labor senator Doug Cameron, Evan Mulholland from the Institute of Public Affairs, former Labor senator Sam Dastyari, Guardian political reporter Amy Remeikis and electoral analyst Ben Raue.

    - Rich James

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    Here's BuzzFeed News' Elfy Scott with the scene in Mayo.

    Sharkie's supporters have cracked out the ukes. Things are getting CELEBRATORY. @BuzzFeedOzNews @BuzzFeedOzPol #supersaturday

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    Darren England / AAPIMAGE

    Susan Lamb, Labor candidate for Longman.

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    Green is now calling Mayo for Centre Alliance's Rebekha Sharkie.

    #BREAKING: Centre Alliance candidate Rebekha Sharkie has won the Mayo by-election in South Australia, according to ABC election analyst Antony Green. #SuperSaturday

    To be honest, this is not a surprise.

    Sharkie was always polling well ahead of the Liberals candidate Georgina Downer.

    Labor decided not to run.

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    Here's BuzzFeed News' Lane Sainty with the scene in Braddon, Tasmania, following the news ABC's Antony Green has called it for Labor's Justine Keay.

    A cheerful - but not full on celebratory - vibe at Justine Keay’s election party at the Ulverstone Surf Club, after Antony Green calls it in her favour #auspol #SuperSaturday

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    In Caboolture, Labor party president Wayne Swan told BuzzFeed News that it was still going to be a tight contest in Longman due to the high One Nation vote. He said that he didn't think that the government's attacks on a "retirement tax" had much of an impact on the vote.

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    Sarah Rhodes / AAPIMAGE

    Bill Shorten and Labor candidate for Braddon Justine Keay.

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    Green is suggesting the preferences from independent candidate Craig Garland to Labor will help Justine Keay get re-elected in Braddon.

    Over 20% of the vote has now been counted.

    @BuzzFeedOzPol He's called it! @AntonyGreenABC calls #Braddon for Labor's @justinekeay.

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    Scenes! The ABC's election analyst Antony Green has already called Braddon for Labor’s Justine Keay. Polls only closed just over an hour ago.

    BREAKING: @AntonyGreenABC calls Braddon for the ALP.

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    We've also reached the stage of the night where very little counting has actually been done, but we're following every % change.

    BREAKING: 2.82% of votes have been counted in #Braddon #SuperSaturday

    We're over 10% counted in Braddon now #SuperSaturday

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    And here's Josh Taylor giving us a flavour of the scene in Caboolture right now, with Labor's Wayne Swan doing some press surrounded by party volunteers.

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    “I'm sorry about this, but it's a thing.”

    The guy who kicked off the entire dual citizenship saga last year spoke to BuzzFeed News' Josh Taylor recently on the anniversary of his resignation.

    “It's strange, being the first domino and then copping a certain amount of abuse from Labor, which said we were disorganised, and the government, who said the Greens were bad and terrible,” the former Greens senator said. “I think it has been a surprise for everyone just how deep and widespread it has become.”

    He added: "I don't think we're done yet, because [prime minister Malcolm] Turnbull protected a whole pile of his people who should probably be facing by-elections too,” he said. “So I feel like it still hasn't washed through because the government has been so bloody dishonest.”

    Getty Images / AAP / BuzzFeed
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    Are we actually going to get all the results tonight?

    A very good question.

    Maybe. The ABC's election analyst, and the only person who understands preference voting in Australia, Antony Green has suggested a large number of the votes should be counted tonight.

    Trevor “Big Trev” Ruthenberg told Sky News this morning that he reckons the counting in Longman could go on for days.


    God help us.

    - Rich James

    .@jacksonw____: @SusanLambALP was able to vote this morning, Trevor Ruthenberg was not. He doesn't actually live in the Longman electorate. He was out campaigning with @PeterDutton_MP. MORE: #SuperSaturday #auspol

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    David Mariuz / AAPIMAGE

    Centre Alliance candidate for Mayo Rebekha Sharkie casting her vote at the main hall in Mt Torrens, Adelaide.

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    And early, early, early counting has started in Braddon and Longman.

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    Mood at the polling stations

    BuzzFeed News' Elfy Scott in Mayo:

    "There seems to be a pretty happy mood of acceptance among volunteers on the ground here. Labor aren't expecting much so they're happy to be speaking alongside the Greens and Centre Alliance. I think the priority for a lot of voters just seems to be keeping the Liberals out. The fight against ABC defunding is particularly vocal at the polling stations."

    Josh Taylor in Longman says there was an initial rush in the morning to vote, but after that it slowed for the rest of the day. "More volunteers on the ground than you'd ever see at a general election".

    Lane Sainty in Braddon:

    A brilliant Devonport morning turned into a blustery afternoon as Justine Keay and Brett Whiteley hit Braddon to drum up votes. There were few crowds in the north-west Tasmanian electorate but a steady stream of voters flowed into voting booths in Devonport, Ulverstone and Burnie in the morning, slowing to a trickle in the afternoon.

    There was not a great deal of drama. A classic democracy sausage was enjoyed by your correspondent at Nixon Street Public School.

    Malcolm Turnbull argued with a man outside the Ulverstone High School polling place about corporate tax cuts, and whether or not he was telling the truth. Shortly after BuzzFeed News posted vision of the encounter on Twitter, Turnbull’s office sent a text saying the man speaking to the prime minister was a former Greens candidate. Subsequent Googling revealed he indeed ran as a Greens candidate – low down on the ticket at the 1992 and 1996 Tasmanian state elections – so make of that what you will.

    Meanwhile at Burnie, a Greens voter told BuzzFeed News she had said “Fuck off!” to Liberal senator David Bushby as she walked into the polling place – a tale confirmed shortly thereafter by the senator himself.

    There was no sign of flyers for renegade independent Craig Garland, whose preferences could very well decide the election, at the booths visited by BuzzFeed News – but Garland spent the day further along the coast, in Smithton.

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    That's it for two out of five of our seats. Polls have now closed in Longman in Queensland and Braddon in Tasmania.

    JUST IN: Polls are now closed in the battleground seats of Longman in Queensland and Braddon in Tasmania. Rolling coverage on Sky News Live, @Foxtel channel 103 & 600. MORE: #SuperSaturday

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    Public unimpressed

    Now then, some people are annoyed we are even having a Super Saturday. Can you believe??

    Labor leader Bill Shorten has copped a fair bit of flack for claiming that his party had no dual citizenship issues last year, only for the High Court to find otherwise.

    Here’s Bill’s rolled-gold guarantee.

    Also the by-election campaigns have now been dragging on for 11 weeks. Eleven weeks!

    As you can tell from some of the tweets below, the prime minister in particular has received a fair bit of criticism when trying to interact with the public this week.

    Haha I walk over to her as she comes out and she goes: “Don’t talk to me! This is a total waste of my Saturday morning.” #auspol

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    Here's some of what our reporters on the ground have been witnessing today as people go to vote.

    Josh Taylor is in Longman, Lane Sainty is in Braddon, and Elfy Scott is in Mayo.

    Malcolm Turnbull’s argument with a voter about whether or not he’s telling the truth. It went on for a bit longer than this... #supersaturday #auspol

    So there seem to be more volunteers than voters in a lot of places. By a Longman it's more than I've seen at general elections. They're pretty evenly spread between the two majors and PHON.

    Found a cardboard cut-out. Labor made an addition though.

    Oh no the nana's have gone rogue and started antagonising Georgina Downer @BuzzFeedOzNews #SuperSaturday

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    Haven't kept up with the drama from #SuperSaturday? We got you covered! Tune in HERE from 11am on Sunday for #auspol results, analysis, wild leadership speculation and political smoothies! Feat @workmanalice @samdastyari @amyremeikis @benraue @evmulholland #BZOzPol

    We’ve got a live show for you tomorrow morning as well!

    You lucky things!

    Tomorrow we’re bringing you the latest addition of our live Twitter show OzPol Live where all the results and reaction will be discussed in detail.

    Tune in from 11am. Alice will be joined by Labor senator Doug Cameron, Evan Mulholland from the Institute of Public Affairs, former Labor senator Sam Dastyari, Guardian political reporter Amy Remeikis and electoral analyst Ben Raue.

    It’s going to be awesome!

    - Rich James

    BuzzFeed News
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    Sarah Rhodes / AAPIMAGE

    Labor candidate for Braddon Justine Keay and opposition leader Bill Shorten outside Nixon Street Public School in Devonport.

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    Pressure on Bill

    The main focus this weekend will be whether Labor can hold onto their seats and, if they don’t, what does that mean for leader Bill Shorten?

    Recent polling suggested Labor would win comfortably in Longman and Braddon if Anthony Albanese was in charge.

    Expect a whole load of speculation and column inches about Shorten’s leadership credentials if Labor fails to pick up four of the five seats on offer today.

    Albanese, Shorten’s perceived main challenger, has been hitting the campaign trail with the Labor candidates in recent days.

    He has claimed that he won’t challenge Shorten for the leadership if Labor has a bad day at the polls this weekend. But watch this space…

    - Rich James

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    The situation in Mayo and Western Australia

    In Mayo, Rebekah Sharkie is expected to win against the Liberals candidate Georgina Downer.

    Sharkie won in 2016 for the Nick Xenophon Team, which is now known as Centre Alliance.

    Downer has faced criticism for being parachuted into the district and being part of a political dynasty (her father Alexander was foreign minister and went on to be the high commissioner to the UK).

    Sharkie, meanwhile, is being seen as the local candidate with a large groundswell of support.

    Former PM John Howard, Downer sr, and home affairs minister Peter Dutton, have all visited Mayo in recent days to try and drum up support for Georgina Downer – but their efforts seems destined to fail.

    Labor has decided not to run.

    In Perth Labor’s Patrick Gorman is expected to win the seat, with the only real challenge expected from Caroline Perks of the Greens. The Liberals are not contesting the seat.

    Two facts I recently discovered about Mr Gorman.

    1. He is 33 years old
    2. His middle name is Possum.

    In Fremantle Josh Wilson (one of four MPs forced to resign because confirmation of British citizenship wasn’t received before the close of nominations in 2016) is also expected to win easily.

    Again the Liberals are not running.

    - Rich James

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    One for the history buffs

    By-elections are usually an opportunity to give the government a bit of a kick.

    If the Coalition wins any of the Super Saturday by-elections, it will be the first time in 98 years that a sitting government has won a seat from the opposition.

    However, the prime minister didn’t have the best time of it when trying to win over voters in Longman yesterday...

    Well I don’t think that quite went to plan for @TurnbullMalcolm at Bribie Island Hotel #SuperSaturday

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    Darren England / AAPIMAGE

    Prime minister Malcolm Turnbull and LNP candidate for Longman Trevor "Big Trev" Ruthenberg meeting people at the Sandstone Point Hotel at Sandstone Point, Queensland.

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    It could be very, very close

    Polling in Longman and Braddon has continually fluctuated over who is in front.

    Those two seats have received significant attention from the press and Canberra’s politicians.

    In Longman Labor’s Susan Lamb is attempting to win back the seat she won in 2016 before stepping down in May over the dual citizenship saga.

    This was her emotional account to parliament about why she was unable to provide the necessary documents regarding her citizenship due to family reasons.

    She has been facing a significant challenge in Longman from the Liberals’ Trevor Ruthenberg, or “Big Trev” as the prime minister likes to call him.

    Big Trev got into a bit of trouble recently over his military medals. There was a whole thing about his CV saying he’d won the Australian Service Medal, when really he’d won the Australian Defence Medal.

    Lamb won the seat with a 0.8% margin (off Wyatt Roy of the LNP) two years ago after receiving strong preferences from One Nation voters. However this time around Pauline Hanson’s party has been on the attack against Labor and is preferencing the Liberals.

    And you’ve probably tried to forget all of this – but there was that saga with former Labor leader Mark Latham recording a robocall for One Nation in which he accused Bill Shorten of being a liar.

    Hanson, meanwhile, decided to go on a cruise the week before the by-election and Matthew Stephen, the One Nation candidate, has been caught up in speculation involving his business dealings.

    But don’t fret, Hanson has been in Longman this week - in the form of 50 cardboard cut-outs.

    In Braddon, we’ve also got a close contest on our hands.

    Labor’s Justine Keay is hoping to win back the seat she won with a 2.2% margin in 2016. (But the polls show it’s much closer now.)

    She faces Brett Whiteley, who won the seat at the 2013 election only to lose it to Keay in 2016.

    Whiteley has faced accusations of not being that visible during the campaign, but the prime minister has been by his side in recent days, trying to hammer home the point that the Tasmanian economy has been improving under the Liberals.

    However, the real power in Tasmania may actually lie with fisherman Craig Garland.

    Garland, running as an independent, has been polling around 8% and could be the kingmaker in the election due to the fact his preferences are going to Labor.

    The Liberals have being trying to remind voters of his assault conviction from the 1990s.

    But Garland is unperturbed, telling the Guardian recently: “They’re going to get a hell of a shock. I probably know the north-west coast better than anybody. I played footy with them, I drank with them, I socialised with them, I’ve got lots of relatives.”

    - Rich James

    Posted at

    How we got here: The never-ending dual citizenship mess.

    Remember last year when you couldn’t move for politicians being kicked out of parliament for being secret Kiwis, Canadians, and Brits?

    Well, in May this year the High Court was at it again and ruled that Labor senator Katy Gallagher was ineligible and she was subsequently ejected from parliament.

    That decision sparked a flurry of resignations, with Labor's Justine Keay (Braddon), Josh Wilson (Fremantle) and Susan Lamb (Longman), and Centre Alliance MP Rebekha Sharkie (Mayo) all announcing they were stepping down.

    All of them held joint citizenship on the nomination date for the 2016 election and had not received a confirmation it had been renounced until after the cut-off point.

    Those four resignations came after Labor’s member for Perth Tim Hammond also announced he was standing down, not for citizenship reasons, but because he wanted to spend more time with his family.

    And so here we are – with five by-elections taking place on the same day. On a Saturday. A … super Saturday, if you will.

    Also, if you’re wondering why July 28, that was the date declared by the speaker of the House of Representatives, Tony Smith, on the recommendation of the Australian Electoral Commission.

    Labor were PISSED when it was announced, given this weekend should have been when they had their National Conference – which would have been a tad inconvenient.

    You can relive that particular fight with Alice’s report HERE.

    - Rich James

    Hello and welcome to BuzzFeed News’ coverage of Super Saturday!

    Voters have headed to the polls in five separate by-elections today, the results of which are being billed as a test of Labor’s Bill Shorten and prime minister Malcolm Turnbull’s leadership.

    Voters in Longman (Queensland), Braddon (Tasmania), Mayo (South Australia), Perth (Western Australia), and Fremantle (Western Australia) are all casting their votes and we can expect the results to start coming in over the next few hours.

    Longman and Braddon are expected to be particularly close, so strap in we could be here for a while.

    BuzzFeed News is reporting live from the scene with reporters Josh Taylor in Longman, Lane Sainty in Braddon, and Elfy Scott in Mayo. Here in Sydney HQ, it’s Rich James and Alice Workman bringing you all the latest news.


    - Rich James

    Contact BuzzFeed News at

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