Predictions the Eden-Monaro electorate would keep Kelly but lose its bellwether status remain speculative as the Magnet went to press yesterday (Wednesday).
By Sunday, Liberal candidate Peter Hendy led polling booth votes by 561 but with 9000 declaration votes still to be counted the final outcome for Saturday’s federal election outcome remains some time off.
Voters seem to have shelved Labor MP Dr Mike Kelly, who has yet to comment on the 4.61 per cent swing against him in the first preference count.
That swing was demonstrated most clearly in the southern half of the Bega Valley Shire where Hendy pulled 1093 votes to Kelly’s 734.
Across the electorate Hendy also led first preference votes with 34, 387 with Kelly on 29, 961.
First preferences by vote type show the pair’s closest contest on polling day was at Bemboka.
Kelly came out ahead by just two votes at 175.
Kelly also came out ahead in the biggest margin, 109 to Hendy’s 31, at Tanja in the shire’s north.
Just who our federal member will be now depends on what kind of majority emerges from the 15,901 declaration votes which are still being counted in a Sydney scrutiny centre of the Australian Electoral Office.
At the time of going to print yesterday (Wednesday) 56 per cent of these votes remain to be counted.
Manager of governance and staff operations with the Australian Electoral Office Keith Eaton said it may be up to two weeks before a result is declared for the Eden Monaro.
“As of this morning 9019 votes are still to be processed,” he said.
“Most of those are declarations, so they are coming in from other states, or overseas as absentee and provisional votes.”
However a winner may emerge if the AEC determines a majority is becoming clear.
“The divisional returning officer will declare if there is a clear majority and the remaining votes won’t impact on the final result,” he said
“But until they get through a lot of these declaration votes we won’t have an indication on what the majority is.
“Definitely with Eden-Monaro we are being very cautious and making sure every vote is checked properly so we get the right result for the Australian people.”
Kelly and Hendy have remained tight lipped this week.
On social media Twitter Dr Kelly said on Tuesday: “Thanks to everyone who passed on supportive messages in these testing days.
“The count goes on and it isn’t possible to say how it will end.”
Mr Hendy chose Facebook for his message: “Thank you to all the people of Eden-Monaro who have been sending in their messages of support.
“The count remains very close and it will still be some time before we know the final outcome.”