"A great night to be a Liberal"

Sophie Mirabella addresses the party faithful in Wangaratta last night. Picture: JOHN RUSSELL
Sophie Mirabella addresses the party faithful in Wangaratta last night. Picture: JOHN RUSSELL

This is an edited extract of Sophie Mirabella’s speech on election night.

“My friends, what a great night to be a Liberal.

This is a wonderful victory for Tony Aboot and the Coalition. The chaos of the last six years is finally over and a strong and stable governmt has been returned.

Tonight is Tony Abbott’s victory. He’s been a sure and steady leader, not just over the last four weeks but over the last four years.

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Here in Indi we applaud what he has achieved for the Liberal Party and we look forward to what he can achieve for our great nation.

There’s no clear result in Indi tonight. While I’m glad to be ahead on primary votes, the the electoral commission has not allocated a two party preferred result on the basis of the Liberal party against the independent.

Therefore it’s impossible to tell tonight who will win this seat.

What I do know is this: in Indi, we’ve been under assault from an extremely well-organised Labor-union-Greens-Get Up campaign.

We saw them all working together on the booths today. We saw Get Up in great numbers. We saw the union leaflets being distributed with the Labor, Greens and independent candidates all lined up together. We saw supporters of our various opponents handing out each others how-to-vote cards all over the electorate.

Their joint activities were constantly denied but they were finally on show today for all to see.

We saw once and for all that this independent was anything but independent.

The truth is Indi has never been the safe Liberal seat that so many people kept saying it was. It was always the case that a drop of only a few percentage points in the Liberal primary vote could put the seat in jeopardy.

What I also know is that the Labor vote has completely collapsed in Indi ... (inaudible) ... the Labor primary vote was around 11 per cent.

That represents a swing against Labor on a primary vote basis of an extraordinary 17 per cent and it may well be the case that there is nowhere else in the country that the Labor vote has been so comprehensively crushed, than in Indi.

That should be a source of pride for every Liberal and National party supporter not just in Indi, but right across the country.

What is also clear is that many good people have voted for my independent opponent and they have had the wool pulled over their eyes.

I feel for them deeply - the people of Indi deserve so much better than this. 

Many people believed they could have their cake and eat it too - they could have Tony Abbott in the Lodge, and a local member with a sole focus on local issues and no requirements to consider the national interest.

As for my opponent, Cathy McGowan, I think in my heart she means well but I know she’s been used by Labor, who have supported her campaign with advertising, with people and with preferences.

In spite of the conduct of Labor and others, I want Cathy to know I wish her well - after all once an electon is over, that’s what people of goodwill do.

To every Liberal in every corner of Australia, I want you know I have fought the good fight, I have finished the course, I have kept the faith.

In Indi, like all over Australia, we had the chance to change the government. We had the chance to bring about real change, to end the chaos, and bring about a strong and stable government.

The choice for Indi was to be part of that change, to send a reosunding message that the people of the North East wanted to scrap the carbon tax, end the waste, repay the debt and stop the boats.

The Rudd Labor-Greens-independent government failed this country. It didn’t deserve to be rewarded and right across Australia, it was not.

It remains to be seen just what the outcome will be here in Indi. It will be resolved on pre-poll and postal votes.

...

As much as I prefer to give you a more definitive outcome in Indi, I cannot. Instead I have many people to thank tonight.

My first and greatest thank you is to the people of Indi. 

It’s been a high honour to serve as your federal representative. I am so grateful to my local community here in the North East. You have enriched my life and that of my family. We have achieved so much together.

Should I be returned, I will re-dedicate myself to your service and my pledge will be to listen to your concerns.

I want to thank every Liberal and National party member and supporter that has made a contribution, no matter how small, to this campaign.

... 

To my family, to Greg, I am so grateful to you for every sacrifice you make in my name, every single day. And I particularly thank you for your time to look after our beautiful daughters while I’m occupied as a parliamentarian. To Ali and Kitty, Maddie and Emily, I am so proud of each and every one of you.

To my staff - I thank you for your dedication, some of you over a long period. You are my extended family. You have borne the brunt of so many unfair personal attacks. I thank each of you for your incredible focus, resilience and loyalty.

To my parliamentary colleagues who’ve supported me in all sorts of different ways I am so grateful, as I am to John Howard and Peter Costello, who are still the greatest campaigners around.

...

To my friend Barnaby Joyce, you are a star. You were able to tell the people here in Indi exactly what happened the last time rural independents were elected. I am so grateful to you. 

To Brian Loughnane ... and all those at the Liberal Party CHQ, you understood this massive campaign against us in Indi and you did somehting about it.

...

To my friend Tony Abbott. I vividly remember campaigning on the northern beaches of Sydney in 1994, in the by-election that brought you into the House of Representatives. I am just so proud of what you have achieved in the past 20 years.

Yours is a powerful message for Australia’s future, it’s a special privilege to be part of your team.

So we fight on in Indi ... On this a wonderful night for the Liberal party and Australia, we recommit ourselves to ensuring the people of Indi have a seat at the cabinet table in this new Abbott government."