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Despite political earthquake, the bush backs Mark Coulton

Mark Coulton and his wife Robyn (centre front) celebrating another victory with his electoral team after Saturday’s federal election. Mr Coulton has been re-elected as Member for Parkes for a sixth term. Photo supplied

As Anthony Albanese steps up to become Australia’s 31st Prime Minister, people in the bush are left wondering what all this means for them.

Nearly 7 in 10 voters have given their first preference to anyone but Labor, but Labor has won on preference flows from The Greens, independents, and other minor parties.

The ‘teal’ independents in Sydney and Melbourne have shaken political norms by defeating high flying Liberal leaders like Josh Frydenberg and David Sharma and have taken at least six Liberal strongholds.

As counting continues, it appears that Labor will hold a slim majority in lower house but could face a difficult senate.

The drift away from the major parties is the big story of the 2022 election – with over 30% of voters directing their first preference away from Labor and the Coalition. The Greens and independents will have a bigger say in the new parliament.

What this all means for the key issues – cost of living, economic management, health, education, and climate change, is yet to emerge.

Coulton back in Parkes

In the seat of Parkes, voters have backed the sitting Nationals member Mark Coulton with a 50% first preference vote, and a solid 68% of the two-party preferred count – which represents a 1.1% swing to the National Party.

Mr Coulton has been re-elected for a sixth consecutive three-year term, ahead of Labor’s Jack Ayoub who got just 32% of the two-party preferred vote. Mr Ayoub received slightly more than 20% of first preference votes – a swing of 3% away from Labor in Parkes.

One Nation’s vote was 7.4%, Greens candidate Trish Frail secured 4.5%, Derek Hardman from the Indigenous Australia Party got 5%, and Liberal Democrat Peter Rothwell – 6%.

Polling booths throughout the electorate threw up various result – including a 56% vote for Mark Coulton and a 55% preference for Labor at Brewarrina.

Other Labor voting booths were Coonamble (55%), Menindee (73%), Broken Hill (58%), and Wilcannia (56%).

Strong results for the Nationals came from Nyngan, 72%, Cobar (61%), Narromine 71%, South Dubbo (63%) and Warialda (81%).

It will be a different role for Mr Coulton, as a member of the opposition party and a diminished role from the highs of his career as a Minister.

Read more local news in the printed edition of The Western Herald.

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