LABOR’S Jordan Crugnale has a narrow lead in the battle to retain her position as MP for Bass.
A 2.03% swing to the Liberal Party in Bass – against the statewide trend – fell just short. As of Sunday morning, Ms Crugnale has 15,995 votes (50.36%), just 225 ahead of the Liberal Party’s Aaron Brown on 15,730 (49.64%).
With such a small margin, the result is provisional with votes to be rechecked and absent votes and some postal votes still to be counted. After a disastrous statewide result, the Liberal Party will be extra keen to secure a consolation prize by regaining the traditionally Liberal seat.
Most of this went to the National Party’s Brett Tessari, who secured 15.23% of the total.
This is only the second time the National Party has stood a candidate in the seat and there was uncertainty about how the presence of two Coalition candidates would affect the flow of votes.
In line with the statewide vote, Greens candidate Callum Bugbird recorded a swing of 2.22%, taking the party’s local vote to 7.91%.
The two independent candidates did not make much impact – community independent Jeni Jobe got 2.68% and conservative independent Meg Edwards, who stood in protest again the Labor Government’s plans for offshore wind farms off the Gippsland Coast, got 2.32%.
Of the minor parties, Labour DLP did best with 3.18%, followed by Family First with 2.49%, the Animal Justice Party with 2.36% and the Freedom Party with 1.97%.
Bass is an electorate of two halves, with the southern part encompassing the whole of the Bass Coast Shire and the northern part taking in rural villages and the outer suburban Cranbourne South and the disparity was obvious in the booth results.
The rural booths of Bass, Bayles, Blind Bight, Catani, Devon Meadows, Koo Wee Rup, Lang Lang and Tooradin were strongly pro-Liberal.
The Bass Coast booths of Cowes, Wonthaggi, Wonthaggi North, Inverloch, Newhaven, Corinella and Cape Paterson were strongly pro-Labor.
Labor did well with the early votes (8057 to the Liberal Party’s 7340) but postal votes heavily favoured the Liberal Party. Around 5% of votes were invalid.