INDEPENDENT parliamentarian Cathy McGowan (MHR, Indi) expects to retain Indi after tomorrow’s federal election.
But Nationals’ candidate Marty Corboy – the 2016 campaign wild card – is confident he will take it from her, while Liberal Sophie Mirabella yesterday told the Wangaratta Chronicle the likely outcome was too close to call.
What’s common to all three of these leading contenders is that voters’ second, third and fourth preferences will decide the final margin – just as they did after Mrs Mirabella’s 12-year hold on the seat was forced to an exhaustive distribution in 2013.
It was the upset of a campaign in which a resurgent Liberal-National Coalition under Tony Abbott was returned to government.
Ms McGowan won by 439 votes – a margin of just 0.5 per cent over her then-frontbench Liberal conservative rival.
The federal parliamentary library in March re-calculated that margin at 0.3 per cent.
This puts it among the country’s five most marginal seats, possibly turning on as few as 300-400 votes, but election analyst Antony Green on Monday saw differently.
“I expect (Ms) McGowan to have an easy victory based on a big increase in her primary vote,” he wrote on his respected ABC Elections’ blog.
Yet Mr Corboy yesterday said he hoped to poll ahead of his Coalition partner – a prospect that demands he wins a primary vote of more than 20 per cent before distribution.
The Nationals for 15 years have been precluded from fielding a candidate because of a traditional no-contest Coalition agreement while it was held by Mrs Mirabella.
The last election in which the Nationals ran – in 2001 – produced for them a primary vote of just 12.29 per cent.
But Mr Corboy is confident his hard-fought eight-month campaign has worked.
“Marty Corboy will win it,” he said when asked his view of how Indi would vote.
“I hope I out-poll the Liberal candidate – that’s been the aim of the game all along.
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