THE day started like any other for Prime Minister-elect Tony Abbott, who donned his Lycra early on Sunday and set off on an early morning bicycle ride in Sydney.
Mr Abbott looked fresh after a punishing day for Labor, which recorded its lowest vote in more than 100 years.
On Saturday night, he told ecstatic supporters that ‘‘Australia is under new management and that Australia is once more open for business’’.
‘‘I now look forward to forming a government that is competent, that is trustworthy, and which purposefully and steadfastly and methodically sets about delivering on our commitments to you, the Australian people.’’
Mr Abbott said that in a ‘‘week or so’’ Governor-General Quentin Bryce would swear in the new government.
‘‘Today, the people of Australia have declared that the right to govern this country does not belong to Mr Rudd or to me or to his party or to ours; but it belongs to you, the people of Australia.’’
Despite the losses, though, all Labor MPs who held cabinet positions under Kevin Rudd retained their seats.
On Sunday morning, Labor looked set to retain 57 seats to the Coalition’s 88.
Greens MP Adam Bandt held his seat of Melbourne, despite Labor directing its preferences to the Liberal party in an attempt to unseat him, Tasmanian independent Andrew Wilkie recorded a comfortable swing of 14 per cent to hold his seat of Dennison, and the Palmer United Party appeared set to pick up two Senate seats and the Queensland seat of Fairfax was in doubt, although party leader Clive Palmer was ahead at midnight on Saturday.
Maverick Queensland MP Bob Katter held his seat of Kennedy, despite the LNP recording an almost 16 per cent swing against him.
Labor’s public soul searching began just minutes after the polls closed on Saturday, with several – including former Defence Minister and Julia Gillard loyalist Stephen Smith calling for Mr Rudd to resign from Parliament for the good of the Labor Party.
‘‘The smart thing for the party and the smart thing for Kevin, in my view, is not just to walk away from the leadership but to walk away from the Parliament,’’ he told the ABC on Saturday night.
‘‘Do what Julia has done and remove for all time the remnants of those political and leadership disputes and difficulties we had from the moment effectively of the 1996 defeat.’’
Re-elected member for Adelaide Kate Ellis said: ‘‘What is so unfortunate is that, if we’re honest about it, we know that there was far less attention on those policy achievements because there was too much focus on ourselves and on our infighting’’.
She said she intended to ensure that the infighting stopped and that Labor MPs got on with the jobs they had been elected to do.
On Sunday morning former Queensland premier Peter Beattie, who was drafted in by Mr Rudd to in a failed attempt to win the seat of Forde, said ‘‘we could have won yesterday’’ if it weren’t for Labor’s infighting.
‘‘People were sick of us fighting,’’ he said.
In the Senate, Nova Peris became Australia’s first indigenous woman Senator for Labor, after Ms Gillard made a ‘‘captain’s pick’’ to replace Trish Crossin with Ms Peris.
Greens Senators Scott Ludlam – in WA – and Sarah Hanson-Young in South Australia looked set to retain their seats.