With opinion polls suggesting a close contest between Labor and the Coalition at the federal election on 21 May, the final result could be a handful of seats.
Here are the federal seats to watch as the election results come in:
New South Wales
Hunter is a rural coal country seat covering Cessnock, Singleton, and Muswellbrook. It has been Labor-held since 1936, but the party suffered a major swing against it in 2019, and the long-time member, Joel Fitzgibbon, has retired.
Labor currently holds it with a margin of 3%.
You can read our profile of Hunter here.
Warringah is a wealthy metropolitan seat spanning the Northern Beaches, Mosman, and parts of North Sydney. Before independent candidate Zali Steggall snagged the heart of Tony Abbott in 2019, the center had been Coalition-held since 1969.
Steggall currently holds it with a margin of 7.3%.
North Sydney is an inner-city seat spanning 53 sq km across the harbor from the CBD. The Coalition has held it for all but six years since the federation. However, the sitting MP, Trent Zimmerman, faces a strong campaign from teal independent Kylea Tink and Labor candidate Catherine Renshaw.
The Liberals currently hold it with a margin of 9.3%.
Wentworth is geographically the second-smallest electorate in the country, nestled into Sydney’s eastern suburbs. It is traditionally a safe, conservative seat. However, independent Kerryn Phelps briefly held it following the retirement of former prime minister Malcolm Turnbull. Teal independent candidate Allegra Spender is vying for the seat this time.
The Liberals currently hold it with a margin of 1.3%.
You can read our profile of Wentworth here.
Women cross the street in Strathfield, in the marginal electorate of Reid. Photograph: Carly Earl/The Guardian
Reid is a Sydney seat that straddles the inner-west and western suburbs, extending from the Parramatta River to Croydon. Before 2013, it was an extremely safe Labor territory until major redistribution changes in 2010 moved the seat east.
The Liberals currently hold it with a margin of 3.2%.
You can find read our profile of Reid here.
Parramatta is a key western Sydney seat spanning Carlingford, Rydalmere, Toongabbie, and South Wentworthville. Both sides of politics have held the seat. Still, the Labor MP, Julie Owens, is retiring, and the party controversially parachuted in former Kevin Rudd adviser Andrew Charlton to replace her.
Labor currently holds it with a margin of 3.6%.
You can read our profile of Parramatta here.
Fowler is a highly diverse electorate in Sydney’s southwest that takes in Cabramatta and Liverpool. It has been a safe Labor seat since its creation in 1984. However, the sitting MP is retiring, and Kristina Keneally, who the Labor head office parachuted in, is facing a tightening contest from high-profile independent Dai Le.
Labor currently holds it with a margin of 14%.
You can read a recent story on the race here.
Macquarie is a highly marginal electorate spanning the Blue Mountains and Hawkesbury regions west of Sydney, between Glenbrook and Mount Victoria. Labor has held the seat since 2016 but has pivoted between the two major parties.
Labor currently holds it with a margin of 0.2%.
Gilmore is a rural seat on the south coast covering the Kiama and Shoalhaven local government areas and was badly affected by the Black Summer bushfires. The sitting MP is up against high-profile Liberal candidate Andrew Constance, who gained popularity during the natural disaster.
Labor currently holds it with a margin of 2.7%.
You can read our profile of Gilmore here.
Goldstein Liberal MP Tim Wilson is facing a challenge to retain his affluent Melbourne seat. Photograph: Luis Ascui/AAP
Goldstein is an inner-city seat in Melbourne’s southeast, taking in the affluent beachside suburbs of Brighton, Hampton, Sandringham, and Beaumaris. The Coalition has held it since it was created in 1984, but teal independent Zoe Daniel has run a high-profile campaign.
The Liberals currently hold it with a margin of 7.8%.
You can read our profile of Goldstein here.
Chisholm is a highly marginal seat in Melbourne’s eastern suburbs, covering parts of Box Hill and Blackburn north to Chadstone and Wheelers Hill. It is a traditionally marginal seat, while a recent redistribution that shifted the heart south has reduced the Coalition’s margin by 0.1%.
The Liberals currently hold it with a margin of 0.5%.
You can read our profile of Chisholm here.
Kooyong is an inner-city Melbourne electorate spanning affluent suburbs east of the CBD. Teal independent Monique Ryan is contesting the “jewel in the crown” of the Liberal party, and redistribution changes have partially eroded the margin of the sitting member and treasurer, Josh Frydenberg.
The Liberals currently hold it with a margin of 5.7%.
You can read our profile of Kooyong here.
Corangamite sits to Melbourne’s southwest, taking parts of Geelong and extending from Queenscliff to Torquay. It is a traditionally conservative seat; three of Labor’s five wins have been since 2007. New boundaries have substantially reduced the seat’s area without reducing Labor’s margin.
Labor currently holds it with a margin of 1%.
You can read our profile of Corangamite here.
Nicholls is a rural seat spanning 14,773 sq km west from Yarrawonga along the Murray River to Echuca, including the regional city of Shepparton. The sitting member, Damian Drum, is retiring, prompting a three-way contest in the traditionally conservative seat between the Nationals, the Liberals, and popular Shepparton councilor Rob Priestly, running independently.
The Nationals currently hold it with a margin of 20%.
You can read our profile of Nicholls here.
In Melbourne’s inner southeast, Higgins extends from Prahran to Malvern East, taking in parts of Ashburton, Murrumbeena, and Ormond. Higgins has been a Liberal seat since 1975, but a redistribution ahead of the election that added Windsor and removed part of Glen Iris and all of Hughesdale has favored Labor.
The Liberals currently hold it with a margin of 3.7%.
You can read our profile of Higgins here.
The Coalition is facing a strong contest from both Labor and the Greens in the CBD seat of Brisbane. Photograph: Dan Peled/Dan Peled for The Guardian Australia
The Liberals are facing a strong contest from both Labor and the Greens. Brisbane covers the CBD and inner-city suburbs on the northern side of the Brisbane River. Before redistribution in 2010, it was a safe Labor territory but has been held by the Coalition for the past 12 years.
The Liberals currently hold it with a margin of 5%.
You can read our profile of Brisbane here.
Ryan sits in Brisbane’s western suburbs, extending south from Mitchelton and Ferny Grove to Moggill. It has been held by Labor once since 1949, but the Greens have increased in popularity, and internal Labor polling shows the party is also in contention to nab the seat.
The Liberals currently hold it with a margin of 6.1%.
Flynn is a rural seat with two-thirds of its voters living outside the main population center of Gladstone, taking in farmland, coal seam gas drilling, and unionized towns. The heart, created in 2007, was one of the most marginal in the country before the 2019 election. With the LNP MP retiring, One Nation and the United Australia party will have a strong influence this time.
The Nationals currently hold it with a margin of 8.7%.
You can read our profile of Flynn here.
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Longman is a predominantly urban seat north of Brisbane, stretching from Bribie Island and Caboolture to Woodford and Bellthorpe. Longman has swapped hands at four of the past five federal elections since it was created in 1996 and is shaping up to be another battle.
The Liberals currently hold it with a margin of 3.3%.
You can read our profile of Longman here.
Griffith covers inner-city suburbs south of the Brisbane River, extending along the river from Morningside to Fairfield. It has been held by the Liberal party once since 1977 but has seen a strong preference push from Labor to the Greens.
Labor currently holds it with a margin of 2.9%.
Leichhardt covers the Cairns metropolitan area extending north along the Marlin Coast, including all the Torres Strait islands. The electorate tended to stick close to the state trend and used to be a Labor stronghold. However, Warren Entsch has held the seat for all but three years since 1996.
The Liberals currently hold it with a margin of 4.2%.
Fishermen on the Burnie jetty in Braddon – a seat more Liberal leaning than the rest of Tasmania. Photograph: Mike Bowers/The Guardian
Braddon is a rural seat spanning 21,000 sq km northwest, covering Queenstown, Strahan, Burnie, and King Island. It is more Liberal leaning than the rest of the state, but the local senator Jacqui Lambie has confirmed her candidate will preference Labor above the Coalition.
The Liberals currently hold it with a margin of 3.1%.
You can read our profile of Braddon here.
Bass spans nearly 7,900 sq km in Tasmania’s northeast, including Launceston, George Town, and Flinders Island. The moderate Liberal MP, Bridget Archer, narrowly wrangled the seat from Labor in 2019 and will benefit from being preferenced above Labor by the Jacquie Lambie Network.
The Liberals currently hold it with a margin of 0.5%.
You can read our profile of Bass here.
Lyons is a rural seat and Tasmania’s largest, stretching along the east coast and extending west to the central and southern midlands. It has only been held by the Coalition twice since being created in 1984, but battles are historically tight.
Labor currently holds it with a margin of 5.2%.
Independent Kate Chaney is putting pressure on the Liberals in the affluent Perth seat of Curtin. Photograph: David Dare Parker/The Guardian
Curtin is an inner metropolitan seat that spans the affluent western suburbs of Perth, including parts of Stirling, Mosman Park, and Subiaco. It has been a safe Liberal or conservative seat since it was created in 1949. But this time, the sitting member is under pressure from independent Kate Chaney.
The Liberals currently hold it with a margin of 13.9%.
You can read our profile of Curtin here.
Hasluck is an outer metropolitan seat covering Perth’s northeast corner, encompassing Guildford, Mundaring, Swan, and Kalamunda. Ken Wyatt has held it since 2010 but is facing a swing to Labor.
The Liberals currently hold it with a margin of 5.9%.
You can read our profile of Hasluck here.
Swan is an inner metropolitan seat in central Perth extending east from Como to Maida Vale. The Liberal MP, Steve Irons, is retiring after 15 years in parliament and, before his election, it was a swinging seat.
The Liberals currently hold it with a margin of 3.2%.
You can read our profile of Swan here.
Boothby is an outer metropolitan seat spanning Adelaide’s blue-ribbon southern suburbs. The center has been in conservative hands since the 1940s, but with the sitting MP, Nicolle Flint, departing, this year is shaping to be a three-way contest between Labor, the Coalition, and teal independent Jo Dyer.
The Liberals currently hold it with a margin of 1.4%.
You can read our profile of Boothby here.
People walk past signs for Labor’s Lingiari candidate Marion Scrymgour in Ramingining. Photograph: Isabella Moore/The Guardian
Lingiari covers most of the Northern Territory, except for the Darwin municipality and most of Palmerston. The Labor MP has held it in Snowdon since it was created in 2001; his departure from this election may hurt the party’s support.