Ballot papers are sorted in the tally room after Saturday’s election.
Ballot papers are sorted in the tally room after Saturday’s election. Scottie Simmonds

Neville keeps eye on election

RE-ELECTED Member for Hinkler Paul Neville is watching the jostling for government in Canberra with as much interest as everyone else in the country.

With Labor and the Coalition each claiming 71 seats after Saturday’s election, with three still doubtful, power looks like being wielded by whoever manages to woo the independents.

Four independents have won seats, and one Green candidate was successful.

Mr Neville yesterday was wary of commenting until the government had been decided, but he did say he knew independent Bob Katter when he was still in the National Party.

“He’s a very colourful character,” he said.

Mr Neville said the three re-elected independents came from highly conservative electorates.

“I’ve no doubt that will colour their decision making,” he said.

Mr Neville said he thought the nation would have a better idea of what was happening in the next 24 hours as the Australian Electoral Commission moved on to counting the postal votes.

Mr Neville’s main opponent in the election, Labor candidate Belinda McNeven, said she would not rule out running for election again.

“I worked really hard and met lots of people,” she said.

“We’ll wait and see what happens.”

Ms McNeven said one of the reasons she stood for election was she did not think enough Federal money was being devoted to Hinkler.

The returning officer for the Hinkler division, Trevor Jordan, said his staff were still waiting for the go-ahead to start counting postal votes.

Meanwhile, in the seat of Flynn, centred on Gladstone, there is still no decision on who has won.

LNP candidate Ken O’Dowd said he was being patient and waiting on the votes, while a spokesman for Labor incumbent Chris Trevor said he would not be making a comment until the votes had been counted.

Mr O’Dowd was declared the winner by political reporters just after 7.30pm on Saturday.

He leads the count by 51.59% to 48.41%.

That represents a difference of 2007 votes between Mr O’Dowd and Mr Trevor.

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