Neal gains Robertson for ALP in cliffhanger
In a remarkable election night, Labor candidate Ms Belinda Neal appears to have defeated the sitting Liberal member for the Federal seat of Robertson, Mr Jim Lloyd.
At close of counting at 10.35pm on Saturday evening, with 69,790 votes counted, representing 73.98 per cent of the total enrolment, Mr Lloyd had received 44.99 per cent of the votes while former Senator, Belinda Neal had 43.57 per cent of the vote.
However, Greens candidate Mira Wrobleski had 7.24 per cent of the vote and given the way the Greens vote in New South Wales went on first preference, it is expected that the majority of the Greens votes will go to Ms Neal giving her the win that she and her party have been campaigning for over the past few years.
On a two party preferred basis, the Liberal vote dropped from 56.87 per cent last election to 49.26 per cent representing a swing towards Labor of 7.61 per cent.
The Labor vote rose from 43.13 per cent at the last election, two party preferred, to 50.74 per cent this time.
As at 10.30am Sunday morning however, Jim Lloyd had not conceded defeat, wanting to wait for all votes, including postal votes, to be counted in the hope that the later votes may reverse the trend and he could retain the seat by a slender margin.
Media adviser from Mr Lloyd's office, Mr James Larsson said: "While all 48 booths have finished counting, there are 4000 postal votes and around 5000 pre-poll votes that may make a big difference to the final picture."
Belinda Neal has therefore not claimed victory at the time of going to press and according to Ms Alison Nolan from her office, she is "confident of winning but is nervously awaiting the outcome of further counting".
However, the ABC election coverage listed the seat of Robertson as a gain for Labor without doubt and the Australian Electoral Commission website lists Mr Lloyd as the "previous member".
Ms Neal was not available for comment at the time of this report but was holding a media conference at Woy Woy at 12.30pm.
Percentages of votes received by other candidates at close of counting were: 2.23 per cent for George Grant, Christian Democratic Party; 1.04 per cent for Helen Ryan, One Nation; 0.79 per cent for Daniel Le, Family First; and 0.15 per cent for Nicholas Tomlin, Citizens Electoral Council.
A comparison with the 2004 election shows Labor's primary vote having increased by nine per cent, a swing larger than that across NSW.
All of the minor parties had reduced percentages in 2007 with the exception of the Christian Democrats who did not field a candidate in 2004.
Ms Neal will be the fifth Labor Party member to hold the seat of Robertson.
The last Labor Party member to hold the seat was Mr Frank Walker.
He was defeated by Liberal Party member Mr Jim Lloyd in 1996.
Cec Bucello, 25 November