In what can only be termed as a massive endorsement by the voters in the Hume Electorate (that encompasses the Weddin Shire) the Liberal Party’s candidate Angus Taylor has been elected to the Federal Parliament with a very healthy margin that saw him gain more than double the votes over his nearest rival, Michael Pilbrow, from the Labor Party.
Angus Taylor campaigned hard over the course of the last 15 months including the official election campaign in order to acquaint himself with the vast electorate with its diverse economies ranging from transport, mining, agriculture, horticulture, grazing and industrial manufacturers. Area wise the electorate of Hume covers 33,637 sq.km generally along the Hume Highway to the north of Canberra. It runs along the Hume Highway from Marulan through Goulburn to Yass, and also includes Harden, Cootamundra, Young, Grenfell, Cowra and Crookwell. Closer to Sydney it also includes Picton, Wilton and Thirlmere.
Angus hails from an agricultural background although he is a banker by profession.
Angus was pre- selected by the Liberal Party to contest the election following the retirement of the very popular Alby Schultz, who stepped down after representing the electorate since 1998, owing to health reasons.
However, it was not all smooth sailing as the pre-selection ballot threatened to turn in to a three-way contest after the National Party at one stage signaled their intention to stand a candidate.
Finally, after so many months on the campaign trail, the moment of truth arrived on Saturday for all the candidates as people in the electorate streamed in from the opening of the polling booths to register their vote.
Large queues in Grenfell at the Uniting Church Hall polling station snaked out on to the footpath and a lot of voters had a goodly wait before making their marks on the ballot paper.
The counting of the votes commenced following the closure of the polling booths at 6pm.
The people of Hume did not have to wait long before the intentions of the electorate became crystal clear. The early figures indicated that Angus Taylor was the preferred choice by a wide margin. Figures also coming in from other electorates and states and Territories reflected the same trend and it was obvious that the Abbott-led Coalition parties were going to form the next Australian Government.
At the time of the close of counting on Tuesday, the Liberal vote after preferences in Hume stood at 61.4 percent of the primary vote with the next largest vote being gained by Labor’s Michael Pilbrow who sat on 38.6 percent which was 2.7 percent lower than the Labor vote in 2010.
These figures represent a swing to the coalition in the seat of Hume since the last election of 0.6 percent. The votes for the other remaining candidates showed a swing to them collectively of 12.2 percent. The Greens candidate, Zaza Chevalier suffered a loss of 2.3 percent compared to their 2010 figures.
Angus and his entourage allowed themselves a short break from the rigors of the task ahead by heading to a Goulburn pub on Saturday night for a short celebration of their victory.
Angus also gave praise and expressed gratitude to the retiring member, Alby Schultz, for his untiring support that contributed to a smooth succession for the seat.