Member for Cowper Pat Conaghan and his wife Ilona cast their vote at William Bayldon Public School on election day.
Member for Cowper Pat Conaghan and his wife Ilona cast their vote at William Bayldon Public School on election day. Frank Redward

Cowper called: A 'safe Nationals' seat once again

ALMOST a month on from the Federal Election and it's now set in stone - Patrick Conaghan is Cowper's new Federal Member.

The Nationals were returned to power, following long-serving MP Luke Hartsuyker's retirement, with a swing of 2.23 per cent in favour of the party.

Cowper has been held by The Nationals and their predecessors for 117 of the 119 years the seat has existed.

The two candidates preferred for Cowper were Pat Conaghan with 59,932 votes in front of high-profile Independent Rob Oakeshott with 45,596 votes.

As early numbers came through Mr Oakeshott expressed doubt about his how-to-vote cards which did not direct preferences beyond 1 for Mr Oakeshott, but had red asterisks in the other seven boxes.

 

Bridget McKenzie, Deputy leader National Party , National Candidate for Cowper Pat Conaghan.. 07 MAY 2019
Deputy leader of the National Party Senator Bridget McKenzie with newly elected Member for Cowper Pat Conaghan. TREVOR VEALE

He admitted this could lead to a high number of informal votes particularly in comparison with the Sate Election in March where numbering preferences was optional.

 

IT'S OFFICIAL: Cowper has been called.
IT'S OFFICIAL: Cowper has been called. Janine Watson

The final number of informal votes was 8,898 up 2.63 per cent on the previous election.

First preference votes for Mr Conaghan were 49,668 compared to Mr Oakeshott on 25,847.

 

Independent candidate Rob Oakeshott with his wife Sara-Jane on election day.
Independent candidate Rob Oakeshott pictured with his wife Sara-Jane on election day. Frank Redward

Votes for first preference in the first count for all candidates:

  • Pat Conaghan (The Nationals) - 49,668
  • Rob Oakeshott (Independent) - 25,847
  • Andrew Woodward (Labor) - 14,551
  • Lauren Edwards (The Greens) - 6264
  • Alexander Stewart (United Australia Party) - 3188
  • Ruth Meads (Christian Democratic Party) - 2383
  • Kellie Pearce (Animal Justice Party) - 2176
  • Allen Green (Independent) - 1451

The seat of Cowper is home to 124,507 eligible voters, 91.90 per cent of which headed to the polls in May.