RUSSELL Broadbent is back, and despite a redistribution which added Phillip Island and the Waterline towns around Western Port to the new-look electorate of Monash, his winning margin was virtually unchanged.
With 80 per cent of the votes counted, Mr Broadbent has secured 39,883 of the 85,637 formal votes or 46.57 per cent, which was 3.29 per cent less than at the previous election.
But on a two-party preferred basis, there was virtually no swing against him despite the fact that Jessica O’Donnell increased Labor’s vote by 2.11 per cent.
A factor could have been the number of people who voted for Jeff Waddell of Pauline Hanson’s One Nation Party, who secured 6362 votes or 7.43 per cent, the biggest vote in Monash outside the two major parties.
Mr Broadbent was ecstatic with the result saying it confirmed a gut-feeling he had during the campaign that support on the ground didn’t correspond with the polling he was seeing.
“Everywhere I went during the whole election campaign, I was getting an excellent response, so I was confused with the polls. They didn’t do any polling down here that I saw, but overall I felt it didn’t gel with the feedback I was getting,” Mr Broadbent said.
“For example, I got an 8 per cent swing in the Moe/Newborough area, and in places like Phillip Island, Inverloch and Wonthaggi I was really pleased with the result.”
Broadbent topped the poll in Inverloch with 645 votes compared to Jessica O’Donnell’s 532. He produced a respectable result in the Labor heartland seat of Moe, 374 to Labor’s 470, held his own in Cowes, 408 to Ms O’Donnell’s 476, and was happy with the outcome in Wonthaggi of 294 versus 364 for Labor; notwithstanding his huge result at the Wonthaggi Early Voting Centre.
Of the 9321 votes posted there, 4340 went to Mr Broadbent as against Ms O’Donnell’s 3127 – 47% for the Liberals to Labor’s 34%.
Mr Broadbent said he felt strongly that people were concerned about Labor’s plans to raise taxes and turn superannuation on its head.
“Labor threatened family incomes and savings and the ability of people to put something aside for the future.
“They felt it would be harder to accumulate wealth under Labor and harder to keep it.
“People in Gippsland don’t consider themselves wealthy. It’s more of a battlers’ electorate here but you can’t take away people’s aspirations, their hopes that they’ll be able to put something away for their retirement and for their kids.”
Mr Broadbent said the unexpected win by the Coalition would allow him to deliver on some of the local promises made before the election including addressing beach erosion at Inverloch and on Phillip Island.
“We’ve committed $1.35 million for beach erosion at Inverloch where there are concerns about the road and the surf club.
“There’s more to do with roads, bridges and black spots and also black spots in communications. This area is providing the water, food and power for the state and people living and working here deserve decent telecommunications and safer roads.”
He said he thought Scott Morrison, with whom he has a good rapport, had done a remarkable job prior to and during the campaign.
“He put his head down and got on with it. He only has the people of Australia in mind,” he said.
Hopefully the return of Mr Broadbent will also be the catalyst for sorting out some issues with the Federal Government allocating $600,000 in extra funding for the Mirboo North Pool.
Election results in Monash (79.6% votes counted in 86 booths):
John Verhoeven (Ind) 2271 votes 2.65%, Michael Fozard (Ind) 2497 votes 2.92%, Jeff Waddell Pauline Hanson’s One Nation 6362 votes 7.43%, Jessica O’Donnell Australian Labor Party 25,578 votes 29.87%, William Hornstra The Greens 5653 votes 6.60%, Russell Broadbent Liberal 39,883 votes 46.57%, Matthew Sherry United Australia Party 3393 votes 3.96%. Informal 3925 votes or 4.38%. Total votes counted 89,562.