Waiting ... Luke Hartsuyker (right) with supporters. LEIGH JENSEN
Waiting ... Luke Hartsuyker (right) with supporters. LEIGH JENSEN

Cowper is too close to call!

By UTE SCHULENBERG

COWPER voters will have to wait until later this week to learn who won Saturday's election, with The Nationals and Labor separated by less than 900 votes.

As Labor celebrated its return to government after 11 years, the party's local candidate, Paul Sekfy, moved to within one per cent of sitting Nationals member Luke Hartsuyker following yesterday's counting.

With 77.6 per cent of the vote counted, Mr Hartsukyer is 878 votes ahead of his rival with 50.5 per cent of the two-party-preferred vote.

It is estimated there are still about 15,000 postal, pre-poll and absentee votes to be counted.

The two-party-preferred swing to Labor is at 6.5 per cent.

Mr Sekfy, who benefited from a strong flow of Greens preferences, said he remained on tenterhooks and was not in a position to make any plans for the future just yet.

"Seventy per cent of the vote has been counted and at this stage there are only about 700 votes in it," he said.

"It's very, very interesting.

"I've always said it would not be easy to change this seat we might be waiting until the end of this week before we have a result."

Local Nationals members yesterday agreed that it may be as late as Friday before the winner in Cowper is known.

Attempts to contact Mr Hartsukyer yesterday were unsuccessful.

Mr Sekfy said regardless of the final outcome, the people of Cowper had made a statement.

"The people made it clear they want to be represented by someone who can effect some change," he said.

"They have embraced the concept of change and I am very proud of them.

"They have achieved a lot because Cowper is no longer a safe seat; it is now a marginal seat."

He said people had also clearly rejected the Coalition policies, which hurt working families.

Commenting on the landslide result for the ALP nationally, Mr Sekfy said after years of waking up to no change, this was the best thing that could have happened.

"We have a new prime minister and a rejuvenated government, ready to tackle the issues they highlighted in their campaign."



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