In an otherwise dire night for the Liberal government, local MPs Angus Taylor in Hume and Michael McCormack in Riverina have retained their seats, while Kristy McBain has solidified her margin in Eden-Monaro for Labor.
There are some murmurs this morning that Mr Taylor may stand for the Liberal Party leadership after Scott Morrison relinquished it while conceding defeat late last night.
Results in Gilmore, where Andrew Constance looks to be edging ahead, won’t be known for some time.
All figures quoted were accurate at the close of counting on Saturday night.
Although Ms McBain won on a razor-thin margin following Mike Kelly’s retirement in 2020, she will easily retain the former bellwether seat with a 7.9 per cent swing. On an unpredictable night, the seat was called by 9:30 pm and Ms McBain told supporters at Club Sapphire in Merimbula that she had wanted to ensure there was no longer any doubt about the seat.
“We have taken what was an ultra-marginal seat and hopefully landed in safe seat territory,” she said.
Liberal candidate Jerry Nockles, who was pre-selected just weeks out from the election, attracted just 29.6 per cent of the vote. Ms McBain will be helped by Green preferences from Vivian Harris’s 10.1 per cent share of the vote.
A plethora of smaller party and independent candidates failed to gain much traction although Boyd Shannon, a One Nation candidate from Queensland, who was installed after the previous candidate, Gerard Nicol, was disendorsed due to misogynist tweets (he called women”insufferable” among other insults), polled 4.6 per cent.
Gilmore on the South Coast remains highly contested as former State member Andrew Constance attempts to enter Federal politics. As counting closed last night, the Liberals were ahead on first preference votes with a 2.8 per cent swing, almost an exact reversal of Fiona Philip’s 2019 victory for the ALP.
Mr Constance is sitting on 40.2 per cent of the vote but will need to contend with a variety of preferences, including 10.9 per cent for Green Carmel McCallum, mirroring a growing trend on the South Coast at all levels of government. He was a popular state MP and is widely viewed as a much stronger candidate than Warren Mundine, a last-minute Liberal pick in 2019.
Mr Constance has run a highly localised campaign, deliberately distancing himself from national Liberal woes. Speaking at the Bomaderry Bowling Club on Saturday night, he invoked the party’s traditions and the need to reflect the local community.
“It’s a wonderful party that Robert Menzies founded and we should never lose sight of that,” he said.
In Hume, high profile Liberal Angus Taylor will retain his seat despite a 5.9 per cent swing to Labor candidate Greg Baines and a 10.7 per cent swing overall against the Liberals.
Mr Baines polled 19.6 per cent of the vote while independent Penny Ackery made strong inroads with 15.5 per cent of the vote in a bitterly contested campaign that included tit-for-tat accusations around campaign material.
Mr Taylor faced a determined challenge from the Vote Angus Out group, which funded a significant chunk of Ms Ackery’s campaign. A complex web of preferences included a decision from One Nation to list Ms Ackery second on its how to vote card.
Hume’s boundaries have been redistributed further east in recent years and the electorate now extends from Boorowa and Gunning to the fast-growing Sydney suburbs around Camden and Narellan, significantly changing the seat’s demographics.
Former National Party leader Michael McCormack has retained one of the safest National Party seats in Australia despite a 4.3 per cent swing to Labor candidate Mark Jeffreson and a 12.7 per cent swing in total against the incumbent.
Despite murmurings in the electorate about a more diverse result, no other candidate reached double figures.