Triumphant O’Connor MP Rick Wilson hails “stunning” election result

Toby Hussey, Liam CroyAlbany Advertiser

O’Connor MP Rick Wilson says the “stunning” Federal election result is vindication for those in the Coalition who believed Scott Morrison could out-perform Malcolm Turnbull.

Mr Wilson had received 42.6 per cent of the first preference vote with 71 per cent of votes counted, well ahead of Labor candidate Shelley Payne on 21.6 per cent and Nationals WA candidate John Hassell on 12.3 per cent.

On a two-party preferred basis, the split was 64.4 per to 35.6 per cent in his favour.

It appeared any swing towards Labor in his electorate would be very minor.

While he had gone into the election confident of victory in O'Connor, he was shocked by the outcome nationally.

He gave full credit to Scott Morrison, who looked set to retain the prime ministership in at least a minority government, if not a majority government.

“A very pleasing result here in O’Connor but in terms of the national result - I’m stunned, quite frankly,” Mr Wilson said.

“I’m speechless.”

This morning at a polling station in Albany, Mr Wilson said he did not believe in-party fighting in Canberra would affect his vote in O’Connor.

“I think people judge their local member on how much they’ve committed and worked for them,” he said.

“Hopefully they’ll judge me kindly today.”

Tonight, clearly surprised by the national result, he said the Coalition would have not achieved anything “remotely close” to it under Mr Turnbull.

“The leadership change from Turnbull has absolutely been vindicated 150 per cent tonight," Mr Wilson said.

“It was actually not ideological (the reason) that the 43 that signed that spill motion — it was actually about his repeated poor performance in campaigns.

“We started the campaign in 2016 three points ahead and we fell over the line by one seat.

“We started the Super Saturday by-elections in front in two seats that we absolutely should have won and we ended up getting thrashed.”

He said the Morrison Government’s victory would be spoken about for decades to come.

“This will go down in political history,” he said.

Mr Wilsons’s campaign was boosted in recent weeks, with a pledge by the Prime Minister to fund the completion of the Albany Ring Road over the next several years, a pledge Labor later matched.

In the weeks leading up to the vote, Mr Wilson pushed his achievement of lobbying for 78 mobile phone towers to be built in the region to reduce mobile reception “black spots” as his key success while representing O’Connor.

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