Labor predicts long night ahead but confident about several seats

Federal election 2022

Labor’s deputy Richard Marles believes the election results will go down to the wire as leader Anthony Albanese said he had done everything he could to take the opposition to a competitive position.

However, the party risked losing some key seats, including the western Sydney electorates of Fowler and Parramatta where locals appear to have rejected high-profile candidates parachuted in, including Kristina Keneally.

Labor supporters anxiously wait at the Canterbury-Hurlstone Park RSL Club, in Hurlstone Park, Sydney, as results come in.Credit:Alex Ellinghausen

With seats all around the country looking likely to switch hands, Marles said voters were in for a long night before finding out a result.

“We feel we’re competitive but we’re coming to this out of a pandemic where … that has been a situation which has favoured incumbents,” he said.

“This is a pretty big mountain for us to climb, but we feel we put forward an alternative that the Australian people have been crying out for and we are hopeful.”

Earlier in the day, Albanese said his three-year strategy appeared to be paying off.

“I’ve put us in a position whereby we’re, at worst, competitive today. We’re in the hunt here,” he said.

“In the fourth quarter, I wanted to kick with the wind at my back. I believe we have the wind at our back, and I’m very positive about, and hopeful about, a good outcome.”

Labor was looking good to pick up Bennelong, Reid and Robertson in NSW and Chisholm and Deakin in Victoria, with about a third of the vote counted.

But Liberals were encouraged by swings towards them in NSW South Coast seat Gilmore and Lyons in Tasmania. Labor frontbencher Terri Butler appeared to have lost her electorate of Griffith to the Greens and former NSW premier and senator Keneally was behind independent Dai Le in Fowler.

Former Labor minister Kate Ellis said Butler was “a huge talent with a very big, huge future in front of her” and if the Greens took Griffith – Kevin Rudd’s old seat – that would be a “very, very big loss”.

“What we’re seeing here is left-wing Labor women having to fight against Greens … but I’m certainly hopeful that Terri would have run a wonderful campaign and will get across the line,” she said.

Keneally was installed as the candidate in Fowler, at the expense of retiring MP Chris Hayes’ preferred candidate, after not being able to secure the top spot on the NSW Senate ticket. But the local community was unhappy with the move and independent Dai Le was winning 27.8 per cent of primary votes, which put her in the lead after preferences.

Similarly in Parramatta, Labor sent in star recruit Andrew Charlton to run against local businesswoman Maria Kovacic. On an early count, there was a swing against Charlton but the leader on two-party-preferred kept changing.

In Bennelong, Labor’s Jeremy Laxale was on track for a 9.3 per cent swing to be ahead of Liberal candidate Simon Kennedy. The seat was a key target for Anthony Albanese, who visited it four times including on Thursday to kickstart his blitz of electorates around the country.

Labor candidate Sally Sitou was on track for a 6 per cent swing in Reid, where she took on Liberal incumbent Fiona Martin, while in Robertson on the Central Coast Gordon Reid had garnered nearly a 5 per cent swing against Liberal MP Lucy Wicks.

In Victoria, Labor’s Carina Garland had won a 4.4 per cent swing against Gladys Liu in Chisholm, which was the Liberal’s second most marginal seat. Prime Minister Scott Morrison had intended to make a last-minute stop in the electorate on Saturday morning but cancelled the plans.

In Gilmore, with 55 per cent of the vote counted, former state Liberal minister Andrew Constance had won a swing of 3.44 points to be slightly ahead of Labor’s Fiona Phillips on 50.83 per cent.

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