Protracted vote count could delay announcement of Tony Abbott’s ministry by weeks
Tony Abbott waits to see if Arthur Sinodinos has retained his senate seat. Picture: Cameron Richardson
AN AGONISING and protracted vote count in key election contests could see Tony Abbott’s announcement of a ministry delayed well beyond the weekend.
It could also be three weeks before it’s known whether the well-respected Liberal Arthur Sinodinos has won the sixth and final Senate slot in NSW and is ready for a frontline economic ministry role.
The worst result for the new government would be Mr Sinodinos losing to serial election loser Pauline Hanson who is attempting to revive her One Nation successes.
And the incoming Prime Minister’s close colleague Sophie Mirabella today is scrambling for votes to narrowly avoided becoming the Coalition’s most embarrassing casualty of the weekend election.
The prospective cabinet minister is relying on postal votes to fend off a challenge from local conservative independent Cathy McGowan, who was backed by a significant number of voters unhappy with Mrs Mirabella’s performance.
Ms McGowan has a small lead but Mrs Mirabella is gaining ground, eating back her rival’s advantage at the rate of about 150 votes for every postal vote counted.
Pauline Hanson’s win would be the worst result for the new government. Picture: Calum Robertson
As shadow industry spokesman she was one of only two women in the shadow cabinet, the other being incoming foreign minister Julie Bishop.
Tony Abbott’s allocation of jobs will take into consideration the ambitions of another close colleague, veteran NSW MP Bronwyn Bishop.
There is speculation Mrs Bishop will be made Speaker but it also is known she wants to become a minister.
New governments usually are sworn in around eight days after polling day which means Mr Abbott would like to announce his ministry at the weekend and get on with the job officially from then.
However, even should Mrs Mirabella win her seat of Indi, hers since 2001, there would be questions about her ability to hold it while doing a cabinet job.
Her critics point to the fact that Liberal women in adjoining seats – Sussan Ley in Farrah and Sharman Stone in Murray – had swings in their favour. Mrs Mirabella had a primary vote swing against her of around seven per cent.