Teal independent Kate Chaney is poised to end the Coalition’s 23-year reign in Curtin, but is bracing for a late surge of Liberal Party postal votes.
In what had been the Liberal Party’s safest Federal seat in WA, Ms Chaney held a modest 2.4 per cent lead over incumbent Celia Hammond after 67.7 per cent of votes were counted on Sunday night.
Despite the national broadcaster declaring victory for Ms Chaney the teal independent is refusing to declare herself the new representative for Curtin.
Betting markets have also already paid out punters who backed Ms Chaney.
Both Ms Chaney’s campaign team fears, and the Liberal Party hopes, postal votes – still being counted – will favour of Ms Hammond overall.
Ms Hammond is favoured 55.2 per cent to 48.2 per cent in a small number of mail-in ballots that have already been counted.
A spokeswoman for Ms Chaney’s campaign told The West Australian remaining postal votes are expected to also favour Ms Hammond, with rusted-on Liberal voters traditionally the ones to cast their ballots first via mail in Curtin.
Regardless of who claims the seat, Ms Chaney said the Liberals could no longer take Curtin for granted.
“With postal, absentee and phone votes still being counted, the outcome of the Curtin ballot is on a razor’s edge,” Ms Chaney said.
“This election has seen a fundamental shift in Curtin – the people have spoken and it is no longer WA’s safest Liberal seat.
“Whatever happens, the Liberal party is unlikely to feel entitled to Curtin again and will now need to think deeply about who and what it stands for.”
Outgoing Attorney-General, and the most senior remaining WA Liberal, Michaelia Cash has refused to give up hope of victory for Ms Hammond.
“Curtin is still a very, very tight race,” Ms Cash said on Sunday.
Ms Hammond is yet to concede defeat in the seat.
Ms Chaney has polled strongly in the northern suburbs – absorbed from the abolished seat of Stirling – of the Curtin electorate.
Booths in Doubleview, Karrinyup and Scarborough heavily backed Ms Chaney.
She also gained strong support in Nedlands, Shenton Park and Subiaco.
Ms Hammond won the most support among voters who cast their ballots in Dalkeith and City Beach.
Curtin has been held by the Liberals for all but three years since its inception in 1949, when Liberal MP Richard Rocher quit the party in 1995 and represented the seat as an independent.
He was defeated at the 1998 Federal election by revered Liberal MP and former Foreign Minister Julie Bishop.