ALP Back In Lead In McEwen; McGowan And Palmer Leads Narrow

The ALP’s sitting member in the Victorian electorate of McEwen, Rob Mitchell, is back in the lead as counting continues in the rural seat north of Melbourne.

Counting over the weekend reversed Mitchell’s position. On Thursday night, the ALP was trailing by 396 votes. This narrowed to 153 on Friday night. Yesterday, the ALP was ahead by 97 votes. The Australian Electoral Commission reports that 9,197 envelopes containing absent, provisional, pre-poll and postal votes remain to be counted. Over half of these are pre-poll votes. Postal votes can still be accepted for the next couple of days.

In the Victorian country electorate of Indi, the independent candidate, Cathy McGowan, remains ahead of the sitting Liberal member, Sophie Mirabella, but the her lead is dwindling. McGowan was ahead by 1,100 votes on Thursday. This declined to 895 on Friday. She is now in front by 515 votes with 3,511 votes on hand that haven’t yet been counted.

In the rural Sunshine Coast electorate of Fairfax, Clive Palmer remains 502 votes ahead of the Liberal National Party candidate, Ted O’Brien. Like McGowan in Indi, Palmer was leading by 1,132 on Thursday. This slipped to 718 on Friday. Palmer continues to win only 37% of postal votes. There are 7,491 votes still uncounted.

Counting will continue over the coming days. The count is slowed because of the need to verify the eligibility of each elector who has cast a provisional, absentee or postal vote.

Attention will turn this week to the composition of the new Abbott government. The Prime Minister-elect is expected to announce his ministry today with a swearing-in to take place on Tuesday or Wednesday. Kevin Rudd remains caretaker prime minister until the new ministry is sworn.


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