Informal vote increases as Marino holds seat

CLARE NEGUSBunbury Herald

The contest for Forrest was over before the polls even opened but incumbent MP Nola Marino waited until 60 per cent of the votes had been counted before claiming victory on Saturday night.

The Liberal Party’s Mrs Marino romped into a third term with about 62 per cent of the two-party preferred vote.

Labor candidate John Borlini’s hopes of gaining ground on the Liberal seat were dashed as Mrs Marino increased her hold on Forrest with a margin of 12 per cent.

Supporters and volunteers who had canvassed the polling places throughout the South West celebrated Mrs Marino’s return to Parliament at the Mary Street Girl Guide Hall in Bunbury on Saturday night.

Elated Liberal Party followers watched televised election coverage at the hall and cheered when Prime Minister-elect Tony Abbott made his victory speech.

Asked yesterday if she wanted a ministerial role in the new Government, Mrs Marino said she would accept any role Mr Abbott asked her to take on.

“New roles are not expected to be assigned until the end of this week,” she said.

The Coalition went into the election with a clear focus on policies to improve regional Australia.

“I have spent years promoting regional development and I will continue to be a strong voice for our region and I look forward to the opportunities being in Government will bring,” she said.

Mr Borlini was disappointed with the result but pleased Labor had avoided the wipe-out many commentators had predicted.

He said he expected Forrest would continue to be ignored by Canberra.

“Conservative politicians in safe seats don’t do anything – they need to look after the electorate,” he said.

He said he doubted he would stand again and hoped a younger person would take up the challenge.

The Bunbury Wellington Economic Alliance congratulated Mrs Marino on her win.

“We have worked closely with Nola as our Federal representative in her years in Opposition, and this relationship becomes even more important as the Coalition takes Government,” Alliance chief executive Matt Granger said.

The final tally is yet to be determined but figures so far show Greens candidate Gordon Taylor came in third with 9.4 per cent of voters putting him as their first preference.

Informal votes also increased – about 4000 people handed in invalid ballots.

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