The Liberal Party had a comfortable win in Western Australia’s Canning by-election holding 54.95% of the two-party preferred vote to Labor’s Matt Keogh on 45.05%.
The by-election was held after the sudden and unexpected death of sitting member Don Randall in July.
Former SAS army captain Andrew Hastie, emerged as the winner shortly after 8.20pm, Perth time, after Keogh conceded defeat.
“As the incoming Member of Canning, I hope to honour Don’s memory with the same spirit of service to the community here,” Hastie said.
While Randall was one of the MPs who moved against former prime minister Tony Abbott in February, and concern over a swing against the government was among the reason for the party’s switch to Malcolm Turnbull on Monday, Hastie paid tribute to the ousted leader.
“I want to thank and honour the service of Tony Abbott. From day one, he wanted me to succeed. I was immensely proud to have him visit and support me and my family on this campaign and I’m grateful for his support and guidance.”
Earlier polling led to fears of a 10% swing against the government, but in the end, the Coalition kept it down to 6%, beating expectations.
But the bitterness of this week’s leadership coup still rankles with many on the conservative side and Labor supporters attempted to remind voters of the instability within the Federal Coalition, especially when party deputy and fellow Western Australian Julie Bishop visited the polling booths.
— The Daily Rupert (@TheMurdochTimes) September 19, 2015
“Western Australia was one of the states where Abbott was still liked, and they (Liberal Party) got rid of him,” one Labor strategist told Perth Today.
“The placards are a reminder of the mayhem and disloyalty of the federal government and an attempt to take some of the shine off of Bishop and the Liberal Party.”
But Bishop, described as Lady Macbeth in Sydney’s Daily Telegraph, was unfazed.
“I don’t react to it. This is not about me,” she told Fairfax. “This by-election is about Andrew Hastie versus other candidates. It’s not about the leadership of the Liberal party, it’s not about changing the government.”
The Canning-by election win for the Coalition gives the Turnbull government an early boost for its new prime minister following Monday’s coup.
Business Insider Emails & Alerts
Site highlights each day to your inbox.