Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has been slammed for his "angry" and "pathetic" post-election speech.

Nine News political commentator Laurie Oakes launched a scathing attack on the Prime Minister and predicted "it's going to be a pretty nasty few years" ahead.

"Look, it is the first time that I have seen a bloke who has won the election give a speech saying that we were robbed," Mr Oakes said.

"I thought that was pretty pathetic. It was an angry speech from a guy two days ago promised a different kind of politics because Australians were sick of this stuff.


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"I thought that was not a very good performance at all, I'm disappointed in Malcolm Turnbull. Bill Shorten was not gracious to his opponent, nor was Malcolm Turnbull."

Oakes was not alone in his criticism, with media commentator Mike Carlton also firing out an angry tweet.

"I have known Malcolm Turnbull for 40 years. Tutored him in journalism. What a flabby failure he is tonight," he wrote on Twitter, a post that has since been retweeted 225 times.

A defiant Mr Turnbull claimed victory in his speech, delivered after midnight, despite a crushing swing against him in the election, lashing out at "an extraordinary act of dishonesty".

"I can report that based on the advice I have from the party officials we can have every confidence that we will form a Coalition majority government in the next parliament," he told a group of supporters at the Sofitel Sydney Wentworth hotel.

But despite being defiant, he conceded it was a "very, very close count".

He confirmed nearly 30 per cent of the votes were yet to be counted. The pre-poll counting stopped at 2am and will resume on Tuesday, including absentee and postal votes.

Mr Turnbull said he expected a criminal investigation to be launched into the dirtiest aspect of Labor's campaign.

"Today, as voters went to the polls, as you would have seen in the press, there were text messages being sent to thousands of people across Australia saying that Medicare was about to be privatised by the Liberal Party," the PM said.

"The SMS message said it came from Medicare - an extraordinary act of dishonesty. No doubt the police will investigate. But this is, but this is the scale of the challenge we faced. And regrettably more than a few people were misled ... But the circumstances of Australia cannot be changed by a lying campaign from the Labor Party."

He pointed out that Labor had had "the second lowest primary vote in its history" and thus "no capacity in this parliament to form a stable majority government".

Mr Turnbull thanked "the millions of Australians who have placed their trust in us, in our party, in our policies, in our candidates" along with all the Liberal candidates, volunteers, supporters and families.

"Now, I want to also address a matter that I know has been raised earlier today or this evening about the calling of the double-dissolution election," Mr Turnbull said.

"Let me remind everybody of why that occurred. That was not a political tactic. It was not designed to remove senators or get a new Senate, because new senators are better than old senators or whatever.

"It was simply this: We need to restore the rule of law to the construction industry ... For those that say we shouldn't have called a double-dissolution election, who are saying we should have just let the CFMEU with get on with doing what they like ... That is not in Australia's interests. It's not right. It's weak. We have to stand up for what is right, to restore the rule of law in an industry that employs over a million Australians."

Mr Turnbull concluded that while the final result "will depend on the counting", the Coalition was prepared to lead the nation through another term of government.

"We have that plan and we will in Government be seeking the support of all Australians, all members of the parliament, to the program that alone can deliver us success in the years ahead."

Mr Turnbull's decision to wait until after midnight to address the Liberal faithful was hugely criticised.

Maxine McKew, sitting in Channel Nine's co-hosting election desk, gave him a piece of her mind, on behalf of the country.

"I think it is a disgrace, it is 20 past 12, what is he doing? This is insulting," she said as she pointed to her watch.

"He should have been with his troops, he could have been in a private room at the hotel and all his supporters there. This could have been handled an hour ago."