Howard praises Abbott for "destroying" Labour govt in Oz

Melbourne: Conservative Tony Abbott has "restored" the Liberal Party and potentially "destroyed" a first term Labor government, former premier John Howard said today as opposition coalition appeared to be charging past the ruling party of Prime Minister Julia Gillard.

"And his (Abott) performance in this campaign...and it's not for me to make any declarations or predictions at this stage, but it's clear that he has undermined and potentially destroyed a first term Labor Government and that is a tremendous achievement, and I am very proud of him.

And I know millions of Liberals around the country are very proud of him," Howard was quoted as saying by Hearld Sun.

Howard said it's not his place to give a prediction, but claims Abbott has brought the Liberal Party back from the dead. Meanwhile, counting would continue in a nail-biting election finish which many predict will end in a hung Parliament.

Australian Electoral Commission said 85 per cent of the total vote in ordinary ballots were expected to be counted tonight.

Spokesman Phil Diak said counting will finish at midnight (AEST), but because of the time difference in Western Australia (WA) information will continue to be put into the system until 2am (AEST). Counting will resume tomorrow, according the reports.