TONY Pasin will represent the Murraylands and Mallee in Federal Parliament as part of a Coalition government.
The Mount Gambier-based lawyer and Liberal candidate won a majority of first preference votes across Barker, securing his place as Patrick Secker’s successor and our man in Canberra.
The nation-wide trend towards the Coalition that saw Tony Abbott swept to power was repeated locally, with a 3.6 per cent swing towards the Liberals on a two-party preferred basis.
Mr Pasin said the result was still sinking in the following morning.
“By seven o’clock yesterday we had an idea and by eight o’clock we knew we’d done it,” he said.
“The emotions I went through between four and eight were anxiety and, quite frankly, a sense of relief.
“I’m humbled by the result across Barker but, I’ve got to say, my results in and around Murray Bridge were stronger than the average.
“I’ll be indebted to the people of Murray Bridge and surrounds throughout this term and, if I’m given the privilege of serving, other terms.
“When you’re a first-time candidate, you remember that stuff.”
He credited branch president Greg O’Brien with the Liberals’ local success and complimented the other six candidates for Barker for their civility throughout the campaign, describing Labor’s Phil Golding as an “utter gentleman”.
He said his priorities as a member of Mr Abbott’s government would include agriculture, small business, regional development and justice.
“One of the great strengths of the Liberal Party is the candidates elected and members returned come from such a broad range of backgrounds,” he said.
“The people of Australia can be satisfied we’ll represent their interests in a way that reflects the diversity of their communities.”
Although the Liberals’ vote actually fell slightly in Barker when compared to the 2010 result, Mr Pasin had still garnered an estimated 52.4pc with 80pc of votes counted.
His nearest rival, the Labor Party’s Phil Golding, attracted only 18.3pc of first-preference votes – a fall of almost 10pc – after admitting during the campaign that it would be “impossible” to win.
Family First’s Kristin Lambert finished third on the back of her support for a national dairy summit, a university campus at Murray Bridge and continued police operations against stock theft.
Independent candidate and Grant Mayor Richard Sage was next, followed by the Greens’ Mark Keough, Nationals’ Miles Hannemann and Palmer United’s Balwinder Jhandi.
In the Senate – a race which remained wide open in South Australia on Sunday morning – Barker voters flocked to the Liberals, Nick Xenophon and Labor in that order.
Family First, the Liberal Democrats, Palmer United and the Greens also attracted several per cent of the vote each.
Pre-election concerns about a high donkey vote failed to materialise in Barker, where informal ballots remained at 2010 levels.
By the numbers: Barker House of Representatives votes
Results in Barker with 81pc of votes counted:
Tony Pasin (Liberal) 52.4pc
Phil Golding (Labor) 18.3pc
Kristin Lambert (Family First) 8.1pc
Richard Sage (independent) 7.4pc
Mark Keough (Greens) 5.4pc
Miles Hannemann (Nationals) 4.4pc
Balwinder Singh Jhandi (Palmer United) 4pc
By the numbers: the race for the Senate
Running results in the Senate in South Australia at 10am Sunday, before preference distribution:
Liberals 1.9 quotas
Nick Xenophon 1.8 quotas
Labor 1.6 quotas
Greens 0.5 quotas
Family First 0.3 quotas
Liberal Democrats 0.2 quotas
Palmer United 0.2 quotas
(Six Senate seats are up for grabs and each quota is worth one. Candidates with the fewest votes will be eliminated one by one until six remain. Provisional quota results can show how close candidates are to winning seats.)
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