The Liberal Party’s Sarah Henderson has conceded defeat in her marginal seat of Corangamite on the Great Ocean Road.
In a statement posted to Facebook on Wednesday night, Ms Henderson said it had become clear she would not be able to catch up to Ms Coker.
“It has been an incredible honour to serve the people of Corangamite since 2013,” she said.
“I am so proud of all that we have achieved.”
Ms Henderson congratulated Ms Coker and thanked Prime Minister Scott Morrison, her staff, campaign team and family.
“This was a tough campaign and whilst I am obviously disappointed, I know that the people of Corangamite will benefit for years to come from the commitments I secured which will be delivered by a re-elected Morrison Liberal Government,” she said.
MEDIA STATEMENT, 22 May 2019 I am delighted that the Morrison Liberal Government has been re-elected with an increased…
Ms Henderson, a former ABC television journalist, faced an uphill battle to retain the seat after a redrawing of the electorate’s boundaries made it notionally Labor, but achieved swings to her in a number of polling places.
“This was a seat that many people had written off just a few months ago and yet we have come so close,” she said.
“We ran a strong campaign and one of which I am extremely proud. We didn’t play dirty, we focused on policy not personality and we never forgot that every community matters.”
Mr Morrison promoted Ms Henderson to the outer ministry after he became Prime Minister last year, making her Assistant Minister for Social Services, Housing and Disability Services.
Her defeat reduces the number of female Liberal MPs available for selection for Mr Morrison’s frontbench.
While Labor had hoped to win a number of seats from the Liberal Party in Victoria, it appears likely to only gain Corangamite and the Frankston-based seat of Dunkley, which was also notionally Labor following last year’s redistribution.
Labor went close to snatching Chisholm, the seat in Melbourne’s eastern suburbs vacated by Liberal defector Julia Banks, but Labor’s Jennifer Yang appears certain to fall short of Liberal candidate Gladys Liu, who would become the first Chinese-Australian woman to sit in Federal Parliament’s Lower House.
With almost 83 per cent of votes counted, Ms Liu leads Ms Yang by almost 1,400 votes.