Catherine King has won the seat of Ballarat comfortably on a night when the Liberal Party was decimated nationally.

Locally polling booths were relatively quiet on beautiful autumn day with the usual sausage sizzles and a market next to the Glenlyon polling booth.

King recorded a comfortable two party preferred victory with a small swing against her on primary votes. She is generally seen as a competent and effective local member.

King is likely to become the minister for infrastructure, transport and regional development.

Nationally, The liberal party may lose 18 seats – a massive repudiation by the electorate. But the result was only a modest endorsement of Labor. Less than a third of voters cast their primary vote for Labor.

The major change at this election was the tidal shift to progressive independents and the Greens. In Ballarat the Greens candidate John Barnes had a swing to him of more than five percent.

Labor will form government but it is not clear yet if it will need the support of independents or whether it will reach a majority in its own right. There are still a significant number of postal votes to count and the final result in the house of representatives wont be known for some days to come.