Opposition Labor Party leader Mark Latham has conceded defeat in Australia's general election and congratulated Prime Minister John Howard on winning a fourth consecutive term in office.
Key members of the opposition expressed dismay after polls in the east closed and early results showed Mr. Howard's Liberal-National coalition in the lead.
A senior member of the Labor Party Senator Robert Ray said it would be, in his words, "almost impossible" for Labor to win the vote.
Another Labor Member of Parliament Stephen Smith said his party lacked the momentum to win.
Labor lost two of its five seats in the island state of Tasmania amid a backlash from loggers over party leader Mark Latham's plan to protect more old-growth forests.