Early counting has Labor just ahead in Aston byelection

Liberal candidate for Aston, Roshena Campbell, is trailing Labor’s Mary Doyle in early counting in the crucial by-election, suffering early swings against her in some key booths.

Counting is taking place across all polling booths in the Liberal-held electorate in Melbourne’s outer-east in what will be a key test for Liberal leader Peter Dutton.

Peter Dutton has visited the electorate six times, with the Liberal Party desperate to keep the seat.

Chris Hopkins

With 10.4 per cent of the vote counted, Doyle is just ahead of the Campbell, leading 50.06-49.94 per cent two-party preferred margin. The result may be undecided for hours.

Early results in the Wantirna South booth – which has a large population of Chinese-Australians – were concerning for the Liberals.

Senior Liberal sources had previously told they feared that they would be punished by the Chinese community in the electorate over the Morrison government’s rhetoric on China and the deterioration in relations between Beijing and Canberra.

The byelection follows the resignation of former Liberal minister Alan Tudge, who suffered a significant swing against him at last year’s election to hold the seat on a slim 2.8 per cent margin.

Around 50 Liberal Party members and federal MPs including Dan Tehan and Jane Hume gathered at the Knox Italian Community Club for Campbell’s election night party shortly after 7pm.

Campbell and Opposition leader Peter Dutton are expected to arrive after 8pm.

In a history-making byelection, Doyle and Campbell battled it out to become the first woman to represent the electorate, which takes in the suburbs of Wantirna, Bayswater, Boronia, Ferntree Gully and Rowville.

Prime Minister Anthony Albanese visited the Bayswater Primary School polling station on Saturday.

Annika Smethurst

Three Liberal MPs earlier told there was some concern about Campbell’s inner-north residency, citing former Labor senator Kristina Keneally’s unsuccessful run in Fowler as an example of locals rejecting candidates parachuted into seats.

In Ferntree Gully, 49-year-old small business owner Brett said he was in the Young Liberals when he was a university student but didn’t vote for Campbell as she wasn’t a local.

“You’ve got to have skin in the game and the candidate has to be from the local area,” he said.

“People aren’t stupid – they want to know you’re representing them and [that] you’ll be a local voice.

“If you are going to support a community, if you’re going to represent a community, you’ve got to live in the community.”

( Information from politico.com was used in this report. Also if you have any problem of this article or if you need to remove this articles, please email here and we will delete this immediately. [email protected] )

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