By CAITLIN CROWLEY
THE teal tidal wave of female independents which is on track to wipe out six sitting Liberal MPs in inner-city seats caused ripples west of the Great Dividing Range, with Groom’s two independents picking up almost 17 percent of the local primary vote, just 2000 votes behind Labor.
While Groom MP Garth Hamilton comfortably retained what was the second safest Liberal seat in Australia heading into Saturday’s federal election, the Liberals’ primary vote was hammered with a 12 percent swing away from the incumbent, with 68 percent of the vote counted.
Voices of Groom independent candidate Suzie Holt has secured 9 percent of first preferences counted so far, with fellow independent Kirstie Smolenski picking up 7.6 percent.
“This is a huge win for Groom and I think that moving forward, we’ve now opened up that space for those big issues to be heard,” Suzie Holt said.
“Even if you were to look at the two independents and put them together, it shows that certainly the community is looking for a positive voice to Canberra.”
Kirstie Smolenski was also celebrating the “massive swing” and said on social media that her team was incredibly pleased with the result.
“Whether this results in increased funding and recognition to the region will be something to monitor carefully,” Smolenski said.
Suzie Holt pointed to independent candidate Dr Monique Ryan’s campaign in Melbourne’s Kooyong, on track to topple former treasurer Josh Frydenberg.
“In Kooyong, they started the process and look what’s happened the second time around. So I think that what we’ve done is show there’s momentum for change,” Holt said.
In a statement on social media Garth Hamilton said although there might not be much for the LNP to celebrate, he “reflects with some pride on how wonderful Australia is”.
“I am humbled to again be granted the opportunity to represent the great seat of Groom in our federal parliament,” Hamilton said.
“It is important now that my party acknowledge the result and set about restoring our credibility as the home of sensible, centre-right policy. We’ve much work to do.”
Suzie Holt agreed.
“I think for the LNP in Queensland, they do have to do some soul searching and moving forward, they do need to move themselves back to the centre of politics to represent the majority of people,” Holt said.
Maranoa MP David Littleproud defied national voting trends to strengthen his hold on the country Queensland seat, with a small swing to the LNP after preferences.
He shared a brief statement on social media, thanking the electorate and promising to keep fighting for their fair share.
Labor will form government with 72 seats confirmed so far and another 14 still in doubt nationwide.
Leader Anthony Albanese will be sworn in as Australia’s 31st Prime Minister later today.