LABOR’S Farrer candidate Gavin Hickey defied the nationwide carnage as his party matched its 2010 election performance.
But the chances of Labor winning the seat again remain remote.
Mr Hickey had 25 per cent of the vote with postal and pre-polls to be counted.
That gave him 18,013 first-preference votes — within striking distance of the 20,981 the 2010 candidate, Christian Emmery, collected.
The first-time candidate offered his congratulations by phone to the Liberals’ Sussan Ley at the Albury Club as party leader Tony Abbott was making his acceptance speech.
“We are quite down on seats and it is not good,” Mr Hickey said.
“The people have spoken and we have to accept their verdict.
“A lot of people were tired of the politics that were going on recently.
“It starts with the leadership issues that were played on by the media — the government has been punished.”
Labor’s strongest support was again at Broken Hill with seven of the eight booths set to be won by the outgoing party.
Mr Hickey said this was a great result for the party following a disastrous showing at NSW election.
The school teacher again had to contend with a limited budget of about $3000 to try to mount a campaign in a seat in a Liberal stranglehold.
“We did the best we could with limited resources,” he said.
“I am happy with the campaign and happy with the support I’ve had from the Labor Party here.
“Everyone tried to do their best and we’ve got new volunteers coming forward.”
The best performed of the minor parties to date in Farrer is the Greens’ Chris Sobey who attracted 3092 votes, ahead Palmer United Party’s Ron Emmerton on 2983.