Veteran MP Warren Entsch has won the far north Queensland seat of Leichhardt for the LNP and says he will see out the duration of his term, quashing retirement rumours.
- Mr Entsch says ALP candidate Elida Faith has called him to concede victory
- He says a rumour he will retire mid-term is “absolute nonsense”
- Maverick MP Bob Katter reclaims Kennedy with a 3.5 per cent swing
The former crocodile farmer and part-time grazier had secured 52.1 per cent of the vote after preferences on Sunday, eclipsing Labor candidate Elida Faith’s 47.8 per cent.
Despite Labor offering almost $600 million in election promises — including a $210-million upgrade of the Kuranda Range road — Mr Entsch’s strong personal following helped him seal his ninth term in government.
The 72-year-old said Ms Faith had phoned him to concede defeat, which he “really appreciated”.
He said speculation that he would not see out his three years in the enormous electorate, which covers an area from Cairns to the Torres Strait, was unfounded.
“It’s floating around on social media that I’m intending on only serving half a term and then I’m going to retire,” Mr Entsch said.
“Any suggestion that I’m only in this for the short term is absolute nonsense.”
Mr Entsch said he wanted to see the $10-billion cyclone reinsurance pool scheme he campaigned for extended to include all natural disasters.
The reinsurance pool aims to make insurance cheaper for homeowners in cyclone-prone parts of Australia.
He said he also intended to see out the completion of the Daintree microgrid project — a multi-million-dollar scheme to bring power to townships living in the world-heritage listed area — and that he would be an effective member in opposition.
“I recall a time in 2010 when I was the chief opposition whip in a hung parliament, so I have that experience,” Mr Entsch said.
Ms Faith told her supporters on Saturday night the “community had sent a very, very clear message to Scott Morrison”.
Maverick MP Bob Katter reclaimed the seat of Kennedy easily with a 3.5 per cent swing.
“I would like to thank everyone who worked on my polling booths, a very humbling experience for me,” Mr Katter posted to social media.
Anthony Albanese will be sworn in as Australia’s next prime minister on Monday.
His government-elect is expected to come close to a 76 seat majority.
As well as the Kuranda Range road upgrade, Labor’s promises for the far north include $107.5 million for the Cairns Water Security Project and $150 million for the Cairns maritime precinct.