Liberal candidate for McMillan Russell Broadbent hands Inverloch’s John Bickley a how to vote card at Wonthaggi early voting centre. Rg022716

Liberal candidate for McMillan Russell Broadbent hands Inverloch’s John Bickley a how to vote card at Wonthaggi early voting centre. Rg022716

THE voters of McMillan have restored the marginal status of their electorate and next time they go to the polls, which might not be all that far off, it will take a swing of just six per cent to effect a change in representation.
But despite sustaining a swing against him of 5.86 per cent, the re-elected Federal Member for McMillan Russell Broadbent says he is both delighted with and humbled by the support he has received from the voters of the McMillan.
“We had an additional 10,000 people coming into the electorate this time, mostly in the Pakenham area, and we didn’t know how they were going to vote so we could really have had a much bigger swing than we had,” Mr Broadbent said.
“This seat was one of the most marginal seats in Australia in 2004 and 2007 and we were expected to lose it in 2010 so to be able to get the support we did was quite
incredible really.”
At this stage in counting (77.09 counted), results show that Russell Broadbent has attracted 48.05 per cent of the primary vote (as compared to 50.36 per cent in 2013), a personal reduction of 2.31 per cent.
His opponent Chris Buckingham enjoyed the results of a good campaign, picking up 4.73 per cent more votes, taking his personal tally to 29.78 per cent (Anthony Naus ALP 25.05 per cent in 2013).
The two-party preferred vote indicates that the seat is more marginal than it was with Mr Broadbent winning with 55.97 per cent, against Mr Buckingham’s 44.03 per cent.
“Last time they were getting rid of the Gillard-Rudd Government, so there was an over-reaction to that. This is more a return to the usual vote but I’m delighted to say that our vote held up well and actually went up at a number of polling places.
“We won booths that we haven’t won before.”
Mr Broadbent said that while the seat was still rural/regional in nature, a whole new area had opened up in Pakenham, changing its profile markedly.
“So to have a six per cent to eight per cent margin in what has always been a marginal seat is a good result and it’s why our campaign here never really ends.
“We’re out there working hard day in day out for the people of McMillan.”
Mr Broadbent said he was delighted that the Long Jetty project at Port Welshpool would be a reality, that the Korumburra Children’s Centre was on the way, the Leongatha by-pass and $24m in improvements for the South Gippsland Highway.
“The next thing we have to turn our attention to is improving recreation facilities in the area and also supporting diversification in the dairy industry.
“Firms like Burra Foods, Viplus and Bega, with their product mix, have held up pretty well and we need to be doing more of that.”
A veteran of 11 Federal Election campaigns, Russell Broadbent, still maintains what he said prior to calling the election that the eight-week campaign was far too long.
“A lot can go wrong in eight weeks. When did the Medicare issue come up? With only a couple of weeks to go.”
Mr Broadbent predicts that the Coalition may still get the 76 seats it requires to make government but said there were still a lot of votes to be counted, including a much higher number of absentee votes because of the school holidays.
“I predicted a hung parliament and that might still be the result,” he said.