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Lakes, health pledge

Monday, 23rd August, 2010

* Sussan Ley retained Farrer for the Liberal Party with a comfortable win. * Sussan Ley retained Farrer for the Liberal Party with a comfortable win.
Ley encouraged by Broken Hill vote

By Stefan Delatovic

Sussan Ley has held onto the seat of Farrer with a comfortable lead, and has pledged to keep working for Menindee Lakes and rural health.

With over 75 per cent of votes counted and after preferences, there has been a swing to Ms Ley of 3.4 per cent. Ley took just over 50 per cent of the primary vote for the Liberal Party. Her closest competitor was Labor’s Christian Emmery at 35.4 per cent, followed by independent Louise Burge with 12 per cent.

Ms Ley said yesterday she was very encouraged by the vote she had received in Broken Hill, with some booths swinging by as much as 11 per cent in her favour.

Her plan now was to “continuing to work hard as the local member”. The issues of Menindee Lakes and rural health were two of her top priorities, she said. “They both have a lot of relevance for the people of Broken Hill,” she said. The ultimate make-up of the government is still in doubt, with a hung parliament predicted andindependents holding the balance of power in the Lower House. 

Those independents, including Bob Kattar and Tony Windsor, have already flagged a greater focus on regional areas as a factor in gaining their support. Ms Ley said that, if arrangements led to a greater focus on regional areas, she would welcome it. Even with a substantial swing towards Liberal, Broken Hill still votedstrongly for Labor, with Christian Emmery winning every booth in the city.

Two party preferred results for each booth in Broken Hill were as follows: 

  • Family Day Care - Ley 375, Emmery 566;
  • White House Convention Centre - Ley 367, Emmery 757;
  • Morgan Street - Ley 528, Emmery 593;
  • North - Ley 667, Emmery 984;
  • Burke Ward - Ley 492, Emmery 684;
  • St Pat’s Hall - Ley 460, Emmery 478, and;
  • Hospital - Ley 209, Emmery 318.

Local scrutineer and life member of the Labor Party, Graeme Reville, said Mr Emmery had done well given his age and inexperience. Given that a 20-yearoldMP has been elected in Queensland, Mr Reville didn’t think Mr Emmery’s age had put voters off. “I think it was more that he was inexperienced and he was an unknown in this area. And he was up against a seasoned incumbent,” Mr Reville said.

Almost six per cent of votes across Farrer were informal, which tracks with the rest of the country. That’s a jump from almost four per cent in 2007. Mr Reville said that, in Broken Hill, most informal votes had been intentionally left blank, rather than incorrectly filled in. Pre-polling proved more popular than ever this year, with 3,700 casting their ballot before Saturday. That’s a jump from about 2,000 in the last election.

The figure makes the early voting booth the city’s biggest, and Mr Reville is angry that the results will never be known. “We’re not going to get them,” he said. “I’m very disappointed because the results are going to go to Albury and get thrown in with all the prepolling from Farrer. “We manned that booth for 11 long days, bothparties did, and neither are going to know what they achieved. We deserve to know the results for Broken Hill.”

Mr Reville said there were plenty of people in Broken Hill capable of counting the votes and, with early voting becoming more popular, it was an issue that neededaddressing. He thanked everyone who had worked at the booths on Saturday.

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