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Sophie Mirabella Concedes Defeat In Indi; Palmer Falls Behind In Fairfax

Sophie Mirabella, the Liberal member for the Victorian electorate of Indi since 2001, has conceded defeat to the independent candidate, Cathy McGowan.

MirabellaMirabella’s concession came during the swearing-in of the Abbott government in which Mirabella expected to be a Cabinet minister.

The latest counting in Indi shows McGowan leading Mirabella by 395 votes, or 50.22% of the two-party-preferred vote. There are 414 declaration votes still to count.

In a gracious statement, Mirabella said she would not seek a recount. “I unreservedly accept the decision of the democratic process,” she said.

In other counting today, Clive Palmer has lost the lead in Fairfax. He now trails by 18 votes with 1,786 votes still to count. On the trend over the past week, Palmer is most likely to lose.

In the Victorian electorate of McEwen, the sitting ALP member, Rob Mitchell, is now 312 votes ahead, with 4,344 votes left to count. He is now expected to win, given the trend in recent days. [Read more…]


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.



Coalition Edging Towards 90 Seats As Election Counting Continues

It now appears likely that the Liberal-Nationals coalition will hold 90 seats in the House of Representatives, as Labor’s position deteriorates in several undecided electorates.

The ALP’s position in Barton, Eden-Monaro and McEwen has worsened over the past two days of counting. The ALP is behind by 643 votes in Barton, 591 votes in Eden-Monaro and 116 votes in McEwen.

However, in the Queensland seat of Capricornia, the ALP remains ahead and has stretched its lead to 268 votes. Capricornia and McEwen are now the only results in serious doubt.

In Reid, the ALP’s position has worsened since Monday and it is now 928 votes behind. It is 722 votes behind in Dobell. Both seats are now presumed to be Liberal gains.

The ALP began the election with 72 seats. It has lost 14 seats so far: Bass, Braddon, Lyons, Deakin, La Trobe, Corangamite, Hindmarsh, Petrie, Dobell, Robertson, Page, Lindsay, Banks and Reid. If it holds Capricornia but loses Barton, Eden-Monaro and McEwen it will finish up with 55 seats in the House of Representatives, or 36.66% of the total.

This would constitute the ALP’s 10th worst defeat in the 41 federal elections held since 1910. It did worse in terms of seats at the elections of 1934, 1919, 1996, 1966, 1925, 1977, 1917, 1975 and 1931.

The interest on the Coalition side now centres on Indi and Fairfax. Clive Palmer is now 1,411 votes ahead of his LNP rival in Fairfax. His lead has been quite stable since Monday and he now seems certain to win.

In Indi, the independent Cathy McGowan is 1,449 votes ahead and now seems assured of victory. Her lead was consolidated yesterday after the Australian Electoral Commission (AEC) corrected a clerical error which had seen 1000 votes incorrectly given to the Liberal incumbent, Sophie Mirabella.

Whilst the clerical error may seem like sloppy work on the part of the AEC, its rectification is in fact a tribute to the fail-safe measures the Commission has in place. By reconciling the number of ballot papers issued with those returned and monitoring Senate numbers, clerical errors are quickly identified.

The Coalition began with 73 seats. It has gained the 14 seats listed above, plus the formerly independent electorates of New England and Lyne. If we assume it has lost Fairfax and Indi, but won Barton, Eden-Monaro and McEwen, it will have 90 seats in the new House.

Sophie Mirabella will have the dubious distinction of being the only incumbent Coalition MP to be defeated. [Read more…]


Transition To Abbott Government Begins; Shorten, Albanese Vie For ALP Leadership As Recriminations Start; Mirabella Struggling In Indi; Palmer Takes Fairfax; Micro Parties Descend On Senate

The transition to the Abbott Coalition government has begun, following Saturday’s federal election.

Prime Minister Kevin Rudd has surrendered his commission to the Governor-General, Quentin Bryce. It is expected that Tony Abbott and his ministry will be sworn in early next week. Abbott arrived in Canberra today to hold meetings with his senior colleagues and to take briefings from the public service.

Abbott

In the Labor Party, moves appear to be afoot to elect a new leader by consensus. The outgoing Treasurer, Chris Bowen, announced he would not be a candidate for the position. It now appears that either Bill Shorten or Anthony Albanese will become leader. [Read more…]


Alex Somlyay (Lib – Fairfax) – Valedictory Speech

Alex Somlyay was first elected as the member for Fairfax at the 1990 federal election.

Fairfax is a non-Labor electorate on Queensland’s Sunshine Coast. It has been held by the National Party and the Liberal Party since its creation in 1984. Elected as a Liberal, Somlyay is now a member of the Liberal National Party.

During his 23-year parliamentary career, Somlyay served as Minister for Regional Development, Territories and Local Government from 1997 to 1998.

This is his valedictory speech to the House of Representatives.

Hansard transcript of Alex Somlyay’s valedictory speech to the House of Representatives.

Somlyay

Mr SOMLYAY (Fairfax) (13:31): I say farewell to this House after being a member for over 23 years. That period of time effectively represents a generation. In 1990 I was only the 845th to be elected to this parliament, this House of Representatives, in 89 years. I believe that number is just over 1,000 now. We are a pretty exclusive lot of people honoured to be in this place. It is with some sadness of course I retire. But I am doing so of my own accord and in my own time because I believe in change and renewal. I have been honoured to serve the electorate of Fairfax with its constant and vast boundary changes for those 23 years. I recognise that it is time for fresh blood and time for new ideas. [Read more…]


Newspaper Front Pages on the Flood Levy

This is a selection of newspaper front pages around Australia today, following the Gillard government’s announcement yesterday that it plans to introduce a levy to fund flood recovery.


Rudd Rules Out Beazley As Governor-General

Kim Beazley will not be appointed Governor-General, according to Prime Minister Kevin Rudd. [Read more…]