News National Super Saturday: Tasmanian voters leave Braddon in Labor’s hands

Super Saturday: Tasmanian voters leave Braddon in Labor’s hands

Justine Keay has won the Tasmanian seat of Braddon. Photo: AAP
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Labor has retained the seat of Braddon – the first to be declared on Super Saturday – with celebrations already under way at a party event in northwestern Tasmania.

ABC election analyst Antony Green called the seat for Justine Keay just after 7pm with 23.8 per cent of the vote counted.

She was helped by preferences from independent Craig Garland to overcome a challenge from the Liberals’ Brett Whiteley.

Mr Whiteley was trying to return to the seat he held for the Liberals before he was ousted by Ms Keay in the 2016 general election.

He conceded the seat shortly before Ms Keay made her speech.

“I did say it would be tough. But I did ask all of you and all Liberal supporters and voters in this great electorate to lift our voices, to lift our voices. And we did.”

Ms Keay promised those who voted for her that they could rely on her.

“I will fight for you today, I will fight tore you tomorrow, and I’ll fight for you as long as you will have me,” she said.

“And I will take this fight to the next general election.”

At 8pm Ms Keay had 52 per cent of the vote to Mr Whiteley’s 48 after preferences.

Drinks started to flow at the Ulverstone Surf Lifesaving Club, decked with red balloons and abuzz with Labor members and supporters.

“It was always going to be difficult but Justine ran a very hard campaign,” MP for Franklin Julie Collins told AAP..

“It was run on local issues and on health. Wherever we went, door knocked and spoke to people, that’s what we heard.”

Ms Keay was forced out of parliament in May because of her dual citizenship.

Both Malcolm Turnbull and Bill Shorten made last-minute campaigns on a visit to Braddon early on Saturday morning.

In an oft-bitter campaign, Ms Keay took a shot at the Prime Minister for only visiting the Apple Isle fleetingly and only then when it suited him.

“It was nice of him to turn up,” she said.

“It was actually the first time I’ve actually shook hands with the Prime Minister but I had to go to him to do it.”

Ms Keay cast her vote in her home town of Devonport, something Mr Whiteley couldn’t do as he lives outside the electorate.

The Liberals ran on jobs growth and investment in local business, while Labor has pledged to fix a health system they say is ailing.