The Latest: Trump congratulates Morrison, reaffirms alliance

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison, second left, arrives on stage to speak to party supporters flanked by his wife, Jenny, left, and daughters Lily, and Abbey, right, after his opponent concedes in the federal election in Sydney, Australia, Sunday, May 19, 2019. Australia's ruling conservative coalition, lead by Morrison, won a surprise victory in the country's general election, defying opinion polls that had tipped the center-left opposition party to oust it from power and promising an end to the revolving door of national leaders. (AP Photo/Rick Rycroft)
Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison gestures as he speaks to party supporters after his opponent concedes defeat in the federal election in Sydney, Australia, Sunday, May 19, 2019. Australia's ruling conservative coalition, lead by Morrison, won a surprise victory in the country's general election, defying opinion polls that had tipped the center-left opposition party to oust it from power and promising an end to the revolving door of national leaders. (AP Photo/Rick Rycroft)
Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison gestures as he speaks to party supporters after his opponent concedes defeat in the federal election in Sydney, Australia, Sunday, May 19, 2019. Australia's ruling conservative coalition, lead by Morrison, won a surprise victory in the country's general election, defying opinion polls that had tipped the center-left opposition party to oust it from power and promising an end to the revolving door of national leaders. (AP Photo/Rick Rycroft)
Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison speaks to party supporters after his opponent concedes defeat in the federal election in Sydney, Australia, Sunday, May 19, 2019. Australia's ruling conservative coalition, lead by Morrison, won a surprise victory in the country's general election, defying opinion polls that had tipped the center-left opposition party to oust it from power and promising an end to the revolving door of national leaders. (AP Photo/Rick Rycroft)

CANBERRA, Australia — The Latest on Australia's general election (all times local):

11:05 a.m.

President Donald Trump has spoken by phone with Prime Minister Scott Morrison of Australia to congratulate him on his conservative coalition's surprise election victory.

According to the White House, the two leaders reaffirmed the "critical importance" of the long-standing alliance and friendship between the United States and Australia, and they pledged to continue their close cooperation on shared priorities.

Morrison's Liberal Partly has defied pre-election polls to clinch a third term in office. But the tight race for the 151-seat House of Representatives raises the prospect of the coalition forming a minority government.

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7:10 a.m.

President Donald Trump tweeted his congratulations to Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison on his victory at the polls Saturday.

Trump called the result a "great win!"

Morrison has only led the government since last August, when Liberal Party colleagues lost confidence in his predecessor, Malcolm Turnbull.

Center-left Labor Party leader Bill Shorten had been favored to win Saturday's election and had campaigned heavily on reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

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2:10 a.m. Sunday

A maverick Australian senator who blamed the slaughter of 51 worshippers in two New Zealand mosques on the country's immigration policies has lost his bid for election.

Fraser Anning was the target of widespread condemnation for railing against Muslim immigration within hours of the mass shootings in the New Zealand city of Christchurch in March. He faced more criticism later for physically striking a teenage protester who cracked a raw egg on his head and was censured by the Senate.

Anning was not expected to be elected on Saturday as a candidate for his own party. He attracted only 19 votes in the last election, when he ran for another party, but was appointed to the Senate last year to replace a senator who had been disqualified on constitutional grounds.

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12:30 a.m.

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison has welcomed his surprising election victory by saying he had never given up hope of staying in power.

Addressing a jubilant crowd of supporters of his conservative coalition in Sydney, a beaming Morrison said, "I have always believed in miracles."

Center-left Labor Party leader Bill Shorten had been favored to win Saturday's election and had campaigned heavily on reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

Morrison has only led the government since last August, when Liberal Party colleagues lost confidence in his predecessor, Malcolm Turnbull.

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11:50 p.m. Saturday

Australian opposition leader Bill Shorten has conceded defeat to Prime Minister Scott Morrison in the country's general election.

Shorten made the announcement to supporters of his opposition Labor party late Saturday night in Melbourne.

Shorten said, "It is obvious that Labor will not be able to form the next government and so, in the national interest, a short while ago, I called Scott Morrison to congratulate him."

Late Saturday, the Australian Broadcasting Corp. called 74 seats in the 151-seat lower parliamentary house as wins for Morrison's conservative Liberal-National party coalition, with 65 seats to Labor and 12 undecided. The Channel 9 network called 73 seats to the coalition, 61 to Labor, with 17 undecided.

A total of 76 seats are needed to form a majority government.

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10:30 p.m.

The vote count in Australia's general election is proving closer than opinion polls had predicted, with the ruling conservative coalition appearing more likely to form a government than the favored center-left opposition party.

The Liberal Party-led coalition seemed on track to win at least 73 seats and the opposition Labor Party at least 65 seats in the 151-seat House of Representatives, where parties need a majority to form a government.

The close result from Saturday's election raises the prospect of the coalition forming a minority government.

Pre-election opinion polls had suggested that the coalition would lose its bid for a third three-year term, and that Morrison would have had one of the shortest tenures as prime minister in the 118-year history of the Australian federation.

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8:25 p.m.

Voting has ended in Australia's general election, with some senior opposition lawmakers confident they'll form a center-left government with a focus on slashing greenhouse gas emissions.

Opinion polls suggest the conservative Liberal Party-led coalition will lose its bid for a third three-year term and Scott Morrison will have had one of the shortest tenures as prime minister in the 118-year history of the Australian federation.

Morrison is the conservatives' third prime minister since they were first elected in 2013. He replaced Malcolm Turnbull in a leadership ballot of government colleagues in August.

Opposition leader Bill Shorten said he expected that Labor would start governing from Sunday. He said his top priorities would be to increase wages for low-paid workers, hike pay rates for working Sundays and reduce Australia's greenhouse gas emissions.

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6:20 p.m.

Votes are being counted after Saturday's Australian election, with senior opposition lawmakers gaining confidence they will form a center-left government with a focus on slashing greenhouse gas emissions.

A Galaxy exit poll found that the opposition Labor Party could win as many as 82 seats in the 151-seat House of Representatives, where parties need a majority to form government.

Polling booths in Australia's eastern states, where most of the 25 million population lives, closed at 6 p.m. Polls close on the west coast two hours later.

Opinion polls suggest the conservative Liberal Party-led coalition will lose its bid for a third three-year term and Scott Morrison will have had one of the shortest tenures as prime minister in the 118-year history of the Australian federation.

Opposition leader Bill Shorten had said Saturday morning he was confident Labor would win, but Morrison would not be drawn on a prediction.

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8 a.m.

Polling stations have opened in eastern Australia in elections that are likely to deliver the nation's sixth prime minister in as many years.

Opinion polls suggest the conservative Liberal Party-led coalition will lose its bid for a third three-year term at the election on Saturday and Scott Morrison will have had one of the shortest tenures as prime minister in the 118-year history of the Australian federation.

Morrison is the conservatives' third prime minister since they were first elected in 2013. He replaced Malcolm Turnbull in a leadership ballot of government colleagues in August.

The center-left Labor Party opposition under its leader Bill Shorten has been campaigning hard on more ambitious targets to reduce Australia's greenhouse gas emissions.

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