NOW BACK TO HQ: Where the party faithful can party
FROM SYDNEY: A COALITION OF THE WILLING
MALCOLM Turnbull's smiling face graced two giant screens rather than updates on the vote count, staring hopefully down at the growing pack of Liberal stalwarts as the count rolled in.
There was a nervous excitement among Liberal Party faithfuls at the Sofitel in Sydney as the votes came through.
Hopes of winning by a strong majority seemed dashed, but the Liberal camp seemed confident they would be returned to government.
The hotel's ballroom was a far cry from Labor's more economically located headquarters at a racecourse in Melbourne, with media cordoned off as they waited for the Liberal Party's big names to arrive.
Finance Minister Mathias Cormann was the first through the doors with wife Hayley by his side, but was quickly shuffled into a back room upon arrival.
One young Liberal supporter was overheard saying, "I'm just here to see John Howard."
The crowd had only just started to build by 9pm, with the after-party already half-way into its allocated time slot.
FROM MELBOURNE: WHERE THE SHORTEN CAMPAIGN RUNS LONG ON HOPE
THE MOOD was optimistic, but pragmatic, inside the Labor camp at the Moonee Valley Race Courses ahead of the final count on Saturday night.
While few of the 'true believers' thought Bill Shorten would lead the party to outright victory, most were hopeful of a strengthened Opposition.
The cheers for Labor figures including Tanya Plibersek and Jason Clare (who one supporter yelled was "a spunk"), came in almost equal weight to the frosty silence that greeted televised news of Coalition-held seats.
One supporter who asked not to be named said he thought Mr Shorten's key role had been creating a "real alternative" for voters.
He and others at the event also wanted Mr Shorten to retain the leadership if Labor did lose, on the grounds he had rebuilt the party after the running battles of the Rudd-Gillard-Rudd era.
With the national count at 50.4% to the Coalition, compared to 49.5% for Labor at time of filing, the ALP faithful was celebrating the win in every seat with whoops and cheers.