The voters of Benambra have sent a clear message that they are sick of being taken for granted, according to independent candidate Jacqui Hawkins.
Ms Hawkins said it appeared her grassroots campaign focusing on local issues had resonated with voters, with strong support for independent candidates.
Ms Hawkins said the aim of her campaign had been to make Benambra a marginal electorate and that aim had been achieved.
“I want to take this opportunity to thank all of the team yellow volunteers and supporters for their efforts,” she said.
“What a ride this campaign has been.
“It’s been an important endeavour while also fun, but what a result for Benambra.
“Regardless of the final vote outcome, this swing sends a clear message around the representation our community wants.
“Being a new energetic and fresh face to the Benambra election we have not only given Benambra a good choice for its representation, but an opportunity for change.”
“Here’s to a marginal Benambra! At the close of voting on Sunday Ms Hawkins was in third place in the count, with preferences appearing to give her a real chance of challenging the sitting member Bill Tilley.
Saturday’s vote was the first time the Liberals had not dominated the polling, which showed the level of discontent, Ms Hawkins said.
At the close of vote counting on Sunday Bill Tilley had 40.29 per cent of the primary vote, ahead of Mark Tait (Labor) on 17.61, Ms Hawkins on 16.77, and independent Jenny O’Connor on 12.21 per cent.
At the close of counting on Sunday 80.80 per cent of votes had been counted.
At the last election Mr Tilley polled 54.6 per cent of the primary vote.
Yesterday’s figures were the first in which the Liberal candidate had not polled over 50 per cent of first preferences in an election where a National Party candidate was running.