The Australian Electoral Commission has confirmed that Labor’s Cathy O’Toole has won the Queensland seat of Herbert by a mere 37 votes, leaving the government with a majority of one.
The extremely close result in the Townsville-based seat held by former government whip Ewen Jones increases the likelihood that the Coalition will launch a challenge in the Court of Disputed Returns.
Ms O’Toole posted a victory message on her Facebook page this afternoon.
“THANK YOU to the people of Herbert,” she wrote.
“I am honored and privileged to have won this amazing hard fought election.
“I am ready and rearing to get into representing this great community.”
Special Minister of State Scott Ryan declined to confirm that court action would be pursued, but said the writ would likely be returned a week from tomorrow and there would then be 40 days available for a challenge to be launched.
“It’s marginally less than 40 days on this occasion due to some administrative arrangements, but let’s just say that it’s about 40 days from next weekend,” Mr Ryan told Sky News.
The Senate count is also due to be finalised this week, with results to be known in South Australia and Western Australia tomorrow, Victoria and Queensland on Tuesday, and New South Wales on Wednesday.