Boothby win pushes Morrison towards majority government

Labor’s conceding defeat in the battle for the crucial Adelaide seat of Boothby has helped propel Scott Morrison and the re-elected Coalition to expected majority government following Saturday’s surprise election result.

May 20, 2019, updated May 20, 2019
Nicolle Flint's win in Boothby has given the Coalition one more seat towards being able to form majority government. Photo: AAP/David Mariuz

Nicolle Flint's win in Boothby has given the Coalition one more seat towards being able to form majority government. Photo: AAP/David Mariuz

Labor’s Nadia Clancy today conceded defeat in the closely-fought contest for Boothby, with Liberal MP Nicolle Flint set to be returned to Canberra.

Clancy called Flint on Monday to congratulate her on her election victory.

“I wish her well as she has been afforded the privilege to continue her role as your member for Boothby,” she told supporters on her Facebook page.

“I did so with the humbling knowledge that this was a tight contest.”

Nadia Clancy has this morning called @NicolleFlint to congratulate her on retaining the seat of Boothby.

Nadia and her team ran an amazing campaign but will fall just sort despite getting a strong swing.

Thank you to everyone who supported our Boothby campaign.

— SA Labor (@alpsa) May 19, 2019

As voting continued, Flint was leading her Labor opponent 51.2 per cent to 48.8 per cent on a two-party basis.

With almost 80 per cent of ballots counted, the remaining pre-poll and postal votes were expected to favour the Liberal incumbent.

On the counting so far the swing to Labor was about 1.5 per cent, but less than the near three per cent the party needed to take the seat.

Clancy said Labor had run an “incredible campaign” with the party’s message heard loud and clear.

“Boothby deserves better hospitals, better schools and real action on climate change,” she said.

“I promise I will remain a fierce advocate for this community which raised me, shaped me and is home to my little family.”

Flint is yet to officially claim victory.

In Sydney, independent federal MP Kerryn Phelps also conceded defeat to the Liberal Party’s Dave Sharma in the high-profile seat of Wentworth.

The race for the blue-ribbon seat had been neck and neck since Saturday night but Phelps conceded at midday on Monday.

Phelps won the seat from the Liberal Party only six months, after a voter backlash following the axing of local MP Malcolm Turnbull as Prime Minister.

“It’s been an enormous privilege to serve in Wentworth,” she told reporters while flanked by a group of her campaign volunteers.

“I wish Dave Sharma very well in his new role.”

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Sharma at present has 51.7 per cent of the vote on a two-party preferred basis while Dr Phelps has 48.3 per cent with about 77 per cent of the ballots counted.

Morrison looks likely to win 77 seats, allowing him to appoint a Speaker and govern in majority.

Out of three close seats listed on the Australian Electoral Commission website on Monday, the Liberals were on track to win Chisholm in Victoria and Bass in Tasmania, with Labor holding the NSW seat of Macquarie.

If the current count trends continue, this will give the Liberals 77 seats in the 151-seat House of Representatives, with Labor on 68 and six crossbenchers.

Liberal Senator Arthur Sinodinos says the Morrison government should consider adopting some of the policies Labor took to the election, including better funding for cancer care.

Morrison also needs to fill a number of spots in his ministry due to retirements, including indigenous affairs, industrial relations and human services.

Labor’s Anthony Albanese – who will contest the Labor leadership following Bill Shorten’s decision to step aside the election loss – said the party needed to closely assess its tactics and policies and examine their impact on Saturday’s result.

“We need to to into the field and listen to what people have to say in the regions, in the outer suburbs, about why it is that we weren’t successful on Saturday, in spite of there being a perception for a long period of time that Labor was in the box seat to form government,” he told 5AA today.

He said the franking credits rebate policy in particular had hurt Labor as it “impacted on people’s hip pockets, and some of those of course weren’t very wealthy people”.

“They were people for whom a small cheque was what they paid their rates with or their car rego or other essentials in life when it came in, so that clearly had an impact for us,” he said.

-InDaily with AAP

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