SUSSAN Ley has made Farrer mission impossible for a Cathy McGowan-style assault in future elections by comfortably retaining the seat on Saturday.
The Albury-based candidate has claimed a fifth election victory and her anticipated final margin of more than 20 per cent will make Farrer one of the Liberal’s safest electorates in NSW.
Ms Ley is on track to regain the ground she lost at the 2010 poll with a swing towards her of 5.3 per cent, with votes from 94 of the 105 polling booths counted.
As expected, Ms Ley had a clean sweep of the eight Albury booths on a two-candidate preferred basis with Labor’s Gavin Hickey and she also won the two booths in Lavington and Thurgoona.
Three years ago, Ms Ley lost votes to Deniliquin-based independent Louise Burge but she is on track to win all six booths in the rice-growing capital of the Riverina.
The Liberal candidate is also on track to win one booth at Broken Hill where she cast her vote on election day.
Her first-preference votes sat on 40,850 last night to be well clear of Mr Hickey on 18,013.
Ms Ley is expected to become the minister for childcare and early childhood learning and employment participation in government under Prime Minister-elect Tony Abbott after the Liberals’ crushing election win.
She celebrated election night at the Albury Club after spending the day wooing votes in Broken Hill and Deniliquin.
The Coalition landslide will guarantee Albury Wodonga Health will receive a $5 million cardiac lab at Albury hospital.
“For six years every door has been slammed in my face because we haven’t been in government,” she said.
“I haven’t been able to take constituents to meet ministers and haven’t been able to solve problems.
“People have endorsed me to be their member for the next three years.
“I feel incredibly humble about that and I won’t let them down.
“I have access to ministers in government and the decision-making process.”
Ms Ley said she had worked hard to regain support around Deniliquin and Hay.
“We had a strong independent four years ago because the Murray Darling Basin Plan was causing serious angst,” she said.
“What I want to do is fix up the mess that is the Murray Darling Basin Plan and that is my first task.
“With Barnaby Joyce, I hope, as the water minister, I am really keen to work with my colleagues on both sides of the river.”
Ms Ley said Mr Abbott would be an excellent prime minister.
“He will be an exceptionally strong, positive and effective leader,” she said.
“He is someone who will never ignore the views of anyone in his party.”
Ms Ley was first elected to office in 2001 after losing out on pre-selection for the neighbouring seat of Indi to Sophie Mirabella.
Her Liberal colleague is in the fight of her political life against independent, Ms McGowan.
“She is a strong and effective performer and I am still hopeful she can hang on,” Ms Ley said.