While Liberal MP Tony Pasin remains the likely winner of Barker, certainty is postponed as the electoral commission consider second party preferences and outstanding postal votes.
With 82 per cent of the electorate counted and preferences tallied, Mr Pasin is out in front with 63.1 per cent of votes, and Nick Xenophon Team candidate James Stacey trails with 36.9 per cent.
Mr Pasin said he was confident he would retain the seat of Barker and looked forward to continuing to represent the electorate.
“It’s been a long campaign and I’m humbled by the support I’ve received from the community and my colleagues.”
He said winning 46.5 per cent of the primary vote was an excellent outcome.
“Just a six per cent swing against us is an outstanding result considering the turbulent nature of South Australian politics during this election,” he said.
Mr Pasin acknowledged the work of colleague Jamie Briggs in the neighbouring seat of Mayo, after he lost to Nick Xenophon candidate Rebekha Sharkie last night.
“Jamie was a strong advocate for Mayo and was gracious in wishing Rebekha well, which is the mark of a true gentleman,” he said.
Mr Stacey gained a 3.4 per cent swing in his favor and said last night’s figures were distorted without the party preferences.
“It will be a close call and a tough one for me to beat Tony at this stage but I’m looking forward to the results after Tuesday’s party preferences count – we’re still in the hunt,” he said.
He remained positive about his impact on Barker, win or lose.
“These results mean whoever becomes the Member for Barker will have to work harder than they have previously,” he said.
“This election sends a strong message to the community, and the other parties, that the Nick Xenophon Team are here to support country South Australia.”
He was not surprised to see Rebekha Sharkie defeat Jamie Briggs.
“There has been strong support for Rebekha across Mayo and I’m not surprised regional communities are supporting the Nick Xenophon Team,” he said.
While the country holds its breath at the looming risk of a hung parliament, the people of Barker will also wait to know their winner.
There are only pre-poll votes, votes from hospital patients and a couple of other booths to go in the count.
The electoral commission is not yet willing to call the result, but Liberal MP Tony Pasin will remain the hot favourite as the count continues over the next few days.
With 85,000 of an expected 106,000 votes counted, he held 46.5pc of first-preference votes to Xenophon candidate James Stacey’s 29.2pc.
Labor’s Mat O’Brien had 15.3pc, Family First’s Yvonne Zeppel 5.8pc and Mark Keough 3.2pc for the Greens.
Each other party’s vote fell due to the introduction of the Xenophon team, but none more than the Greens and Family First.
Should his victory be confirmed, it may be by a few percentage points fewer than his 2013 win, but predictions of a Liberal doomsday across country South Australia appear to have been premature.
We’re more or less just waiting on Bordertown, Coomandook, parts of Mount Gambier, Murray Bridge High School, a bit of Waikerie and a few pre-poll votes now.
Hard-working Australian Electoral Commission volunteers have counted 68,163 ballot papers in Barker so far.
The swing against Mr Pasin, the Liberal MP, has settled between 5.5 and 6pc, which is a couple of points higher than the national average.
Results from Mannum and Murray Bridge East have been included in the count.
It’s still Liberal 47pc, Xenophon 30pc, Labor 15pc, Family First 6pc, Greens 3pc in Barker.
We’re about 80pc of the way through tonight’s count in Barker, and Liberal MP Tony Pasin remains in a solid position with 48pc of first-preference votes so far.
His next closest challenger, the Nick Xenophon Team candidate James Stacey, is on just 30pc.
That figure is five per cent less than what the Xenophon candidate received in neighbouring Mayo, the Hills and Fleurieu electorate, where Liberal MP Jamie Briggs has just conceded defeat.
Interestingly, counting in Murray Bridge is not keeping up with the rest of Barker yet. Only MB East has counted all first prefs yet.— Peri Strathearn (@PeriStrathearn) July 2, 2016
One thing is becoming clear during this vote count: a great many people have voted ahead of time.
Votes have been counted from 67 of 105 polling places, or 64pc; but only 33,000 of 106,000 votes, less than a third, have shown up so far.
What does that mean?
Lots of counting after tonight as postal votes are opened and pre-poll votes are added up … but those votes are unlikely to affect the overall outcome.
Mr Pasin still has 51pc of first-preference votes, with NXT’s James Stacey on 28pc and Labor, Family First and the Greens following behind.
For Barker to be at risk of falling to another party tonight, the Liberal vote would have to drop below 50pc and the NXT vote would have to pass Labor.
With 18.8pc of votes counted, that does not appear to be the case.
The Liberals sit on 50.4pc, NXT on 28.3pc, Labor on 12.8pc, Family First on 5.3pc and the Greens on 3.1pc so far.
At this stage, all signs suggest Liberal MP Tony Pasin will continue to represent Barker for another three years.
ABC is calling Barker for the Liberals. Which is probably fair.— Peri Strathearn (@PeriStrathearn) July 2, 2016
The first numbers are in.
Liberal MP Tony Pasin has 52 per cent of the vote, NXT 31pc and Labor 10pc … but that is with just three per cent of the vote counted.
These are early days yet.
Votes are being counted as Liberal MP Tony Pasin aims to hold onto the seat of Barker, which covers the Murraylands, Mallee, Limestone Coast and South East, plus the Riverland.
Mr Pasin won the seat with a 16.5 per cent margin in 2013, when he took over from long-serving MP Patrick Secker.
But the race will be more complex this time around, as Nick Xenophon Team candidate James Stacey is expected to make it a three-cornered contest with Labor’s Mat O’Brien.
We will have updates throughout the night.