Whitby is close to victory

Aiden BoyhamSound Telegraph
WA Labor candidate for Baldivis Reece Whitby looks to have been elected. He is pictured here with his wife Natalie.
Camera IconWA Labor candidate for Baldivis Reece Whitby looks to have been elected. He is pictured here with his wife Natalie. Credit: Gareth McKnight

WA Labor candidate Reece Whitby looked to have secured the new seat of Baldivis last Saturday, with independent Matt Whitfield his closest competitor.

Though neither Mr Whitby or Mr Whitfield were claiming victory or conceding defeat on Monday morning, figures indicated a strong likelihood that Mr Whitby would be successful in taking out the new electorate.

With 68 per cent of the vote counted, Mr Whitby had accounted for 44.5 per cent of the primary vote while Mr Whitfield had 23.5 per cent with the Liberal Party’s Malcolm George a distant third with 14.1 per cent of the primary vote.

After preferences, however, Mr Whtifield had closed the gap with 44.8 per cent of the vote while Mr Whitby had 55.2 per cent.

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Mr Whitby told the Telegraph he was humbled and grateful to have received the support of so many people in Baldivis, but wanted to wait until all votes were in before declaring victory.

“I want to respect the process so there can be no claiming of victory before all the votes are counted and there is a final tally and declaration by the electoral commission,” he said.

“Every candidate had the best interests of the community at heart.

“As someone who has run before and lost by a mere 170 votes, I very well know the disappointment of defeat and how that feels so my heart goes out to all the candidates who put their heart and soul into the contest.”

Mr Whitfield, a City of Rockingham councillor, hailed the support he had received from the community and his team and said it would go right to the end.

“The amount of support from my team and the community has been fantastic and whatever it comes to on Wednesday or Thursday, it has been absolutely superb,” he said.

“Whilst it looks more than likely Reece will take it, mathematically there’s 8000 votes yet to come in and you never know how they are going to go.

“Liberal preferences should flow to me, One Nation’s should flow to me and the Australian Christians’ should flow to me.

“The irony is I’ve gone against preferences, I’ve put no prefer-ences to anybody, but if I do take it out it’s because other people’s preferences.

“Whether or not I get in, I’m still going to work as absolutely damn hard as I can; if I’m not fortunate to get in, I’ll be the person who will respectfully hold the Labor Party to account.”

Baldivis featured nine candidates at the election, with a number of other independents and smaller parties running.

One Nation’s John Zurakowski secured 7 per cent of the primary vote, with Christine Fegebank from the Greens accounting for 5.1 per cent while Yvette Holmes, of the Australian Christians, had 2.5 per cent.

Independent Craig Hamersley had 1.5 per cent of the primary vote while fellow independent Kath Summers and Micro Business Party candidate Prabhpreet Singh Makkar both had 0.9 per cent.

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