Super Saturday delivers wins for Labor in Queensland, Tasmania and WA, Centre Alliance holds Mayo against Downer challenge

| 29.07,18. 05:25 AM |

Super Saturday delivers wins for Labor in Queensland, Tasmania and WA, Centre Alliance holds Mayo against Downer challenge

Federal Labor is celebrating four by-election wins in Braddon, Longman, Perth and Fremantle.

Bill Shorten declared it a "Super Saturday night" for the Labor party, calling the by-election results a signpost to Labor winning government at the next federal poll.

The four victories have strengthened Mr Shorten's leadership and created doubt about the Coalition's chance of being re-elected.

The Labor leader celebrated the wins with Susan Lamb in the Queensland seat of Longman, where voters re-elected her with a swing of more than 7 per cent.

He used his victory speech to thank voters and position himself as the next prime minister.

"I promise the Australian people, we will continue the work of putting together a policy agenda for the next national Labor government, a program which will re-win the confidence and the support of working class and middle-class Australians," Mr Shorten said.

In Super Saturday's fifth by-election contest, Liberal candidate Georgina Downer was comprehensively defeated by Centre Alliance's Rebekha Sharkie in the South Australian seat of Mayo.

Before the string of by-elections, Braddon and Longman were expected to be close, and some had suggested Mr Shorten's leadership would be questioned if either seat was lost.

Labor is ecstatic at the strength of Ms Lamb's win in Longman, especially as the next federal election will be held in less than a year.

Some in the Coalition have tried to play it down by arguing that Oppositions often perform well at by-elections.

But the result is a worry for the LNP, which saw a 13 per cent swing against its candidate Trevor Ruthenberg.

His primary vote of 26 per cent in a seat sent a signal the LNP may struggle in Queensland at the next federal election.

Labor frontbencher Ed Husic told ABC News the Longman result showed Queensland LNP MPs would struggle to be re-elected, including Peter Dutton, Michelle Landry, Ross Vasta, Bert van Manen and George Christensen.

Mr Ruthenberg took responsibility for the loss in Longman, and thanked the Prime Minister for supporting him when it was revealed he had mistakenly claimed the wrong military medal.

In the Tasmanian seat of Braddon, Labor candidate Justine Keay did not perform as well as Ms Lamb did in Braddon.

But Ms Keay defeated Liberal Brett Whiteley because of preferences from independent candidate Craig Garland, who won 11 per cent of the vote.

Ms Keay had won the seat from Mr Whiteley at the 2016 election, after he had held it for the previous three years.

In South Australia, Ms Sharkie attributed her win to "people power".

"Tonight we have shown that you don't need huge wads of money, you don't need a huge political machine, what you need are people who are passionate, people who care and that is every single one of us in this room," she told her supporters.

She also thanked her father for lending her a car to use for her campaign.

"Dad I accidentally put 18,000 kilometres on your Magna, I am really sorry, I promise I will get it serviced."

Ms Downer conceded defeat and told her supporters she respected the decision of the voters.

She did not confirm if she would run for the seat again at the next federal election.

Labor also won the two by-elections in Western Australia where the Liberals did not stand candidates.

In Fremantle, Josh Wilson comfortably retained his seat.

Mr Wilson, Ms Keay, Ms Lamb and Centre Alliance's Ms Sharkie will all now return to Federal Parliament after being forced to resign in May because the High Court found they had not renounced dual citizenship before the 2016 poll.

Perth was the only by-election not caused by a dual citizenship issue.

The former Labor member Tim Hammond resigned for personal reasons and he has been replaced by Patrick Gorman.


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