With the threat of public service cuts by the Liberal party, it was almost a foregone conclusion that Labor’s Mike Kelly would poll well in Queanbeyan, even if it was with a reduced margin. It was this factor that was going make the remaining areas of Eden-Monaro significant.
On first preferences by vote type, Mr Hendy led with 34,387, followed by Dr Kelly with 29,961, Catherine Moore (The Greens) 5,512, Dean Lynch (Palmer United Party) the surprise package with 4,092 although the Cooma Mayor is said to be very popular.
Independent, Andrew Thaler received 943 votes, Warren Catton (Christian Democratic Party) 720, Martin Tye (Stable Population Party) 484 and Costas Goumas (Citizens Electoral Council) 142.
After the two candidate preferred result was in, Mr Hendy’s lead was reduced to 565 where it was sitting Tuesday afternoon after a complete recount due to the closeness of the poll between the two main parties.
At a local level though there was a swing towards Mr Hendy with Bega Valley Shire showing a clear north/south divide.
This was most noticeable in Eden where Dr Kelly only polled 734 votes compared to Mr Hendy’s 1093.
It was the same story in Tura Beach where Mr Hendy was clearly ahead of Dr Kelly 903 to 664; and in the two Merimbula polling booths where Dr Kelly totalled 1264 to Mr Hendy’s 1630.
In Wolumla Mr Hendy polled 259 to Dr Kelly’s 232 but this represented a swing of 7.18 against Dr Kelly.
In Pambula Mr Hendy was ahead but only just, with 791 to Dr Kelly’s 753 votes.
However, the further north you went in the shire, the more Dr Kelly’s vote strengthened.
In Bega, Dr Kelly had a combined total of 2406 to Mr Hendy’s 2064.
In Cobargo, it was Dr Kelly who garnered the most votes 336 to Mr Hendy’s 303.
In Candelo it was Dr Kelly on 297 to Mr Hendy’s 230; in Bermagui it was a similar story as Dr Kelly polled 659 to Mr Hendy’s 633.
The widest margin was seen in Tanja, where Mr Hendy got just 31 votes, and Dr Kelly 109.
The tightest contest was in Bemboka, where Dr Kelly got 175 votes and Mr Hendy 173.
Wyndham was one of the few southern polling booths to go against the swing to the Liberals with 196 votes for Dr Kelly and 101 for Mr Hendy but even in Wyndham there was a 0.15 per cent swing against Dr Kelly from the previous election.
The southern swing to the liberals could be seen as a reflection of concerns about the local economy. Voters have found the continual “you’ve got it better than Europe” financial message from the Labor party out of step with real life in rural and regional areas.
Throughout the electorate, the incumbent Dr Kelly saw a 4.61 per cent swing against him.
As polls closed on Saturday many political analysts believed Eden-Monaro would finally shed its famous bellwether status and Labor’s Dr Kelly would keep his seat even as his government fell, as he picked up preferences from The Greens.
However, after the first round of counting, Mr Hendy had pulled in front.
Now it seems that the fate of Eden-Monaro will be decided by postal votes.