Labor’s Nat Cook has won the Fisher by-election by nine votes, after a painstaking recount today.
Cook claimed a nail-biting 23-vote win over the Liberal’s Heidi Harris on Saturday.
Cook had knocked out independent candidate Dan Woodyatt by 226 votes and claimed most of his preferences to win.
However, the Electoral Commissioner Kay Mousley agreed to the Liberal Party’s request for a recount.
That recount – which continued through the day and finished about 9.20pm – ended with Cook on 10,284 votes to Harris’s 10,275.
The win will give Labor a majority on the floor of Parliament.
Mousley said earlier today that the count would check all ballot papers, including informal votes, after concerns were raised by the Liberal Party.
“They have some concerns with some of the informal ballot papers and the adjudication as to whether they were formal or informal, so I thought to put everyone’s mind at ease let’s go through, do the whole process again,” she told ABC radio.
“That way there can be no dispute about the result and the outcome that we will achieve when we finish today.”
Shadow treasurer Rob Lucas said yesterday that scrutiny on which votes should be counted as formal and which votes shouldn’t could have been tighter.
“We think that’s important,” Lucas told AAP on Sunday.
The seat of Fisher was held by Bob Such, an independent who died of a brain tumour in October.
If Cook is declared the winner, Labor will have a majority in South Australia’s lower house for the first time since the March election.
Woodyatt says he has engaged legal counsel to consider a challenge to the result, after the Electoral Commission declared that Liberal campaign material had been misleading.
Cook was philosophical today about the recount.
“In the big scheme of life it’s an irritant isn’t it really; what a ride, a lot of fun,” she told FIVEaa.
However, she indicated that if her win in Fisher was confirmed, she would not be content to sit on the backbench forever.
“There’s some really key committees that sit underneath those main portfolios that I would like to get involved,” she said.
“And then, of course the long-term vision through natural progression and change within parliament there will be opportunities for me to step up into a role. So yes, I’ll make it very clear and categorical that I would very, very much like to be involved in a senior portfolio position be it ministerial or whatever down the track.
“I understand I have a lot to learn in terms of government procedure but I can immediately offer a lot to some of the committee so I’d love to get involved.”
– with AAP
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