2019 Federal Election: Adam Blakester says it's a 'beginning not an end' for his supporters in New England

SUPPORTERS: Over the course of the federal election campaign, independent candidate for New England Adam Blakester listened to the voices of thousands of people across the electorate.
SUPPORTERS: Over the course of the federal election campaign, independent candidate for New England Adam Blakester listened to the voices of thousands of people across the electorate.

THE people of New England have spoken and the results are clear.

With 93,578 (83.6 per cent) of votes counted, incumbent New England MP Barnaby Joyce has retained the seat for The Nationals with 55 per cent of the first preference vote and a 2.7 per cent swing in his favour.

"I'm really humbled by the support I've got in New England and I want to continue working as hard as I can," he said, declaring victory two hours after the polls closed on Saturday night.

"I'm so proud of my team, the National Party and what we achieved for rural and regional Australia."

Mr Joyce was well ahead of his main opponent, independent candidate Adam Blakester, who admitted on election night it was not quite the result he would have hoped for.

However, he said he was "incredibly honoured, inspired and proud to have been part of something so extraordinary".

Over the course of the election campaign, Mr Blakester had gathered the support of hundreds of volunteers and listened to the views of thousands of people across the electorate.

Heading into the campaign, he described his political platform as "democracy not politics" and one that will be "developed by the voices of the electorate".

"We've truly created something extraordinary here," Mr Blakester said, as the reality of an election loss sunk in.

"We've regained respectful politics of 'doing democracy' and held a really respectful campaign across this electorate.

"This is a beginning, not an end for us."

Mr Blakester said his campaign team would debrief before deciding the next step.

TRIUMPH: Barnaby Joyce claims victory at the Tamworth Tennis Club surrounded by National party supporters on Saturday night.

TRIUMPH: Barnaby Joyce claims victory at the Tamworth Tennis Club surrounded by National party supporters on Saturday night.

While Mr Blakester attracted almost 12,961 first preference votes, or 14.8 per cent, the next best performer at the polling booth was Labor candidate Yvonne Langenberg, who received almost 11,000 first preference votes (12.5 per cent).

This represents a small but positive 5.5 per cent swing for the party in New England.

At the 2016 federal election, Labor's candidate for New England Scone local David Ewings attracted 7.01 per cent of the vote, increasing that to 11.12 per cent in the 2017 New England by-election.

Votes are still being counted, but as of Monday morning, United Australia's Cindy Duncan was next in line with 4.5 per cent of the vote, (3,931 first preference votes) followed closely by the Greens' Tony Lonergan with 4.2 per cent.

Next were independents Rob Taber (3.7 per cent) and Natasha Ledger (3 per cent).

The Christian Democratic Party's candidate Julie Collins was in last place with 2.2 per cent of the vote.

Mr Joyce's win in New England adds to the Liberal-National Coalition's success across the country.

They are set to secure a majority government with at least 77 seats, as the Liberals look likely to secure the vital seats of Bass, Chisholm, Boothby and Wentworth.

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