Late call-up a handicap for Payne
Labor candidate Shelley Payne has pointed to her late call-up to run as a major electoral handicap heading into last week’s Federal vote, after finishing a distant second to Liberal MP Rick Wilson.
With almost 76 per cent of the vote counted, Ms Payne had 36 per cent of the two-party preferred vote for O’Connor — a safe conservative seat stretching from Manjimup to South Australia.
That represented a swing of one per cent towards Labor.
Despite having only two months to prepare, the first-time Federal candidate comfortably beat out The Nationals’ candidate John Hassell in a seat his party won in 2010.
“Having been pre-selected only two months before election day made it tough,” Ms Payne said.
“I was pleased the Labor vote held up given that it’s a very conservative seat and the Government was returned.
“It must be disturbing for the National party to lose 11 more percentage points of their primary vote over consecutive elections.”
Ms Payne said the short time frame made it hard for her to visit enough voters across O’Connor, an electorate which is larger than New South Wales.
However, while voters in her home town of Esperance overwhelmingly backed Mr Wilson, she won a majority of preference votes in Norseman, Laverton and Collie.
Ms Payne, whose party lost an election that many thought it would win, said she was disappointed with the outcome but respected the national vote.
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