Seven votes the difference

Toby HusseyAlbany Advertiser
Ballot boxes.
Camera IconBallot boxes.

The final count for votes in this seat at last month’s election was made official last week, with a close battle for fourth place coming down to seven votes.

In the end, Pauline Hanson’s One Nation candidate Dean Smith edged out the Greens’ candidate Nelson Blake Gilmour to finish runner-up behind the major parties.

Mr Smith received 7252 votes to Mr Gilmour’s 7245.

The pair were both first-time candidates.

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Mr Smith said he was “incredibly surprised” to finish fourth in his party’s first contest for the O’Connor electorate, and in a vote he entered only weeks before polling day.

“Beating the Greens at the ballot box was an awesome feat,” he said.

“I’d like to thank the team in Boulder: the Honourable Robin Scott, Steve Keam and Jacinta Dimer, and all the volunteers in and around Kal, young and old,” he said.

“It was an honour and an absolutely fantastic effort.”

Mr Gilmour, who campaigned for months ahead of the election, blamed himself for the nearly 2 per cent swing against his party.

“To see the Greens, the party of looking after our land, lose to the loose-cannon liability that is PHON in the midst of a climate crisis is disappointing,” he said.

“It’s very difficult to see the Green vote decrease after the biggest campaign ever run in this electorate and I accept responsibility for that.”

Liberal MP Rick Wilson won with 42.04 per cent of the vote, nearly double that of second-placed Shelley Payne for Labor.

Nationals candidate John Hassell finished third.

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