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.



Rob Mitchell (ALP-McEwen) – Maiden Speech

Rob Mitchell won the Victorian seat of McEwen for the ALP at the 2010 federal election.

In an election which reduced the Gillard government to minority status, Mitchell’s victory was vital to the government’s survival. He secured a swing of 5.34% and won the seat with 55.32% of the two-party-preferred vote.

Mitchell contested McEwen in 2007, when the sitting Liberal member, Fran Bailey, won by 31 votes. The election result was confirmed by the High Court sitting as the Court of Disputed Returns.

Mitchell was previously a member of the Victorian Legislative Council from 2002 until 2006. [Read more…]


Day 13: All Politics Is Local

The ALP released a national disability “strategy” yesterday. They could have just called it a policy statement but everything is a strategy these days. At least it was a national strategy in an important policy area that has gone unrecognised for too long. It was Julia Gillard’s first major announcement of the day.

But it was the only worthy policy announcement of the day. With Gillard and Abbott both in Melbourne, the race to state politics was never more keenly fought. Abbott announced a plan to crack down on gangs and Gillard declared war on knives. Melbourne marvelled at their intuitive understanding of our most deeply-held fears.

Later, Gillard was mobbed in a shopping centre in the electorate of Deakin. Abbott visited the Essendon Football Club and practised handballing. There was no sign at Windy Hill of that great Bombers fan, Peter Costello. Another prominent supporter, Simon Crean, was far from Melbourne in the northern Queensland electorate of Leichhardt, visiting schools with the sitting Labor member, Jim Turnour. [Read more…]


ALP Lead In McEwen Now Only 6 Votes

The ALP’s candidate in McEwen, Rob Mitchell, has had his winning margin cut to 6 votes as he waits on the Australian Electoral Commission’s response to the Liberal Party’s request for a recount.

Media reports today say the lead has been cut to 5 but the AEC’s website shows 6.

The Queensland seat of Dickson has now been declared by the AEC, with victory going to the former Howard minister, Peter Dutton, by 221 votes. Damian Hale has been officially declared the winner of the Northern Territory seat of Solomon for the ALP by 196 votes.

Three other Queensland seats remain in doubt. In Flynn, the ALP’s lead has been cut by 247 votes to 212. In Bowman, the Liberal candidate’s lead has slipped 21 votes to 81. In Herbert, the incumbent Liberal, Peter Lindsay, has increased his lead by 29 votes to 352.

In the Western Australian seat of Swan, the ALP’s Kim Wilkie looks set to become the only incumbent Labor member to lose his seat. In NSW, former Howard minister Jim Lloyd seems certain to lose Robertson to the ALP’s Belinda Neal.

  • Herbert – (Qld – Liberal) – Lib ahead by 352.
  • Bowman (Qld – Liberal) – Lib ahead by 81.
  • Swan (WA – Labor) – Lib ahead by 280.
  • Robertson – (NSW – Liberal) – ALP ahead by 185.
  • McEwen – (Vic – Liberal) – ALP ahead by 6.
  • Flynn (Qld – open) – ALP ahead by 212.

Trivia note: today is the 30th anniversary of Malcolm Fraser’s victory in the 1977 Federal election. Today is also the 58th anniversary of Menzies’ 1949 victory, as well as the 52nd anniversary of his fourth consecutive victory in 1955.


ALP Wins McEwen By 7 Votes

The final count of votes in the Victorian electorate of McEwen has given the seat to the ALP candidate, Rob Mitchell, by 7 votes, in what is likely to be a federal record.

Despite holding a lead during most of the past two weeks of counting, the former Howard government minister, Fran Bailey, fell behind today as the final batch of postal and absentee votes was counted.

After the distribution of preferences, Bailey has 48,409 votes to Mitchell’s 48,416. This is a swing to the ALP of 6.42% from the 2004 election.

The AEC says there have already been two counts in the seat but that the candidates are entitled to a recount.

On present trends, if the ALP holds McEwen, it will have 84 of the 150 seats in the new House of Representatives.