"We are a strong OECD country, yet we are fast becoming the least generous when it comes to reducing global poverty," said Norman Gillespie, the CEO of UNICEF Australia.
Paired with Abbott's budget cuts is a generous maternity plan pitched to female voters despite opposition from big business and from within his own party. Mothers would be given up to $75,000 (US$68,490) for six months' maternity leave at a total cost of $5.5 billion (US$5.01 billion) each year.
Other key issues, alternatives
Aside from business, the two main candidates were separated by their views on same-sex marriage. Rudd is firmly for it, Abbott, a former Catholic seminarian, insists that marriage should be between a man and a woman.
However they were much closer on the issue of asylum seekers. Both main parties advocate sending people who arrive by boat to offshore processing centers where most, if not all, would be potentially resettled if found to be refugees.
Other winners, losers
WikiLeaks founder and the leader of the WikiLeaks Party, Julian Assange, failed in his long distance bid for a seat in the Australian Senate.
Assange, who co-ordinated his campaign from the Ecuadorean Embassy in London where he's been holed-up for fear of arrest and extradition, said under the circumstances he was happy with the outcome.
"I think it's a great result. The party was registered in July -- three months ago. It's had its leader and primary candidate stuck in an overseas embassy for 400 days in a foreign country, nine hours time difference and with an international banking blockade against it," Assange told the ABC.
He said the WikiLeaks Party, which earned about 1% of the votes in the state of Victoria, would survive to contest the next election.
Meanwhile, reports suggested another outspoken leader of his own party, Clive Palmer, was on track to win a Senate seat.
The mining billionaire, perhaps best known outside Australia for his plans to build a replica of the Titanic, founded his Palmer United Party just four months ago. On Sunday, he claimed that preferences from his party helped secure Abbott's win.
Other parties vying for votes included the No Carbon Tax Climate Sceptics Party, the Voluntary Euthanasia Party, the Sex Party, the Australian Fishing and Lifestyle Party and the Australian Motoring Enthusiast Party. None of them recorded a strong showing.