A jubilant Bill Shorten has congratulated Susan Lamb for winning back the seat of Longman on what he dubbed a Super Saturday night for Labor.
Moments after the LNP’s Trevor Ruthenberg conceded defeat in the battleground seat, Mr Shorten accompanied Ms Lamb to declare victory at the party function north of Brisbane.
He said the Super Saturday results for Labor was a victory for the party and paved the way for success at the next federal election.
“I would like to introduce to you and welcome back the new member of Longman,” Mr Shorten said.
Ms Lamb said voters had sent a message to the Turnbull government.
“They have sent a message loud, they have sent it clearly. Stop giving big banks a tax cut and start funding our schools and hospitals,” she said.
Mr Ruthenberg earlier conceded defeat and took responsibility for the result.
He praised Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull for his support, especially during the furore over the mistake he made in describing his defence service medal.
“I have witnessed and been the beneficiary of all the character traits you would hope for in a prime minister,” Mr Ruthenberg said in his concession speech.
Ms Lamb will be returned to Canberra with an increased margin after Labor’s vote rose and the LNP’s dived in the electorate north of Brisbane.
Ms Lamb has around 55 per cent of the two party preferred count, the Australian Electoral Commission’s website shows with just around 43 per cent of the vote counted.
Labor frontbencher Ed Husic said the Longman result would worry other Queensland federal MPs, ahead of the general election due next year.
“All will be wondering whether they were supposed to be doing better in Queensland, they will be sweating quite a bit on that basis,” he told ABC.
“This is bad news for Malcolm Turnbull.”
LNP state president Garry Spence said Labor had spent up big to ensure it retained Longman and kept Bill Shorten’s leadership safe.
“The Labor Party had to do what they could to shore up the leadership. They have spent money, bet the farm to do so,” Mr Spence said.
Mr Ruthenberg’s primary vote was a low 26 per cent, after he suffered a swing against him of 10 per cent.
One Nation’s Matthew Stephen has eaten into the Liberal National vote, but up to 40 per cent of One Nation preferences are going to Labor.
Longman was one of the tightest of the five Super Saturday by-elections.
Before Ms Lamb was forced out of parliament because of dual citizenship issues, she held the seat on a razor-thin margin of 0.8 per cent.
The Newspoll in The Weekend Australian had Ms Lamb ahead 51-49.
The seat had seen concerted campaigning by both Mr Turnbull and Mr Shorten.
The prime minister was in the seat on Friday, while Mr Shorten flew into Longman late on Saturday after spending the morning at the other end of the country in the Tasmanian seat of Braddon.
One Nation has also faced issues during the campaign, with questions over Mr Stephen’s business practices and leader Pauline Hanson spending the past week on a European cruise.