Fraser in seventh heaven
FOR Andrew Fraser it was the sweetest of victories.
Saturday’s election was his seventh and the result was by far the best.
“To have polled 78% of the vote on a two-party preferred basis was amazing,” Mr Fraser said.
“It is very humbling that so many people had that much confidence in me to represent them for the next four years.”
At the end of counting on Saturday night, Mr Fraser had collected 65.5% of the primary votes as the Kenneally Government was emphatically swept from office with a swing to the Coalition of around 17%.
“I was not really surprised by the collapse of the ALP vote," he said.
“But I was surprised by how uniform the swing was across the board.
“That helped us win back three key seats from the Independents, and that was particularly satisfying for all of us.”
Mr Fraser was first elected to represent Coffs Harbour in 1990, but sat on the government benches for only four-and-a-half years before Bob Carr came to power.
Now he’s heading back to Macquarie St and into a role he admits will be challenging.
“I expect that when we get a true picture of the financial state of NSW, we will end up finding dust at the bottom of the till and a big fat IOU,” he said.
“It will make it difficult to fund our agenda, but Barry O’Farrell is a man of great integrity and he will deliver what we promised. It may take a bit longer than we’d like, but it will happen.”
With Nationals now holding every coastal seat between Port Stephens and the Tweed, it should come as no surprise what Mr
Fraser’s number one priority will be – fast-tracking the upgrading of the Pacific Highway.
“Fixing the highway is streets ahead of everything else for us. We have all lost too many friends and family members to the highway, and so we will be working very hard to deliver the upgrades that are needed as quickly as possible,” he said.
As he heads into his seventh parliamentary term, Mr Fraser is now one of his Party’s senior statesmen, although yesterday he wasn’t giving away any hints if he will be given a ministry. “That is something that will be worked out over the coming week,” he said.
While Mr Fraser looks forward to sitting on the other side of the bear pit, his opponents in Saturday’s poll are facing the cold, hard reality of being trounced convincingly.
The ALP’s David Quinn said that he was naturally very disappointed by his party’s performance.
“I am happy that the swing away from the ALP in Coffs Harbour (6.1%) was much less than it was across the State,” Mr Quinn said. “It is onwards and upwards from here.”
Mr Quinn got 14.5% of the primary vote and was followed home by the Green’s Rodney Degens who improved his vote by 3.2%.
“Getting 10.7% of the votes is good, but it will mean more when I find out the swings in neighbouring seats,” Mr Degens said.
Enrolled voters: 50,671
Votes : 33,647
Andrew Fraser (NP) 22,033 votes (65.5%)
Deborah Lions (CDO) 1193 (3.5%)
David Quinn (ALP) 4895 (14.5%)
Paul Templeton (Ind) 1949
Rodney Degens (GRN) 3577 (10.6%)