Article – Majority government restored for Country Liberals as Nathan Barrett wins Blain by-election

13 April 2014
NT News

PHOTO: Nathan Barrett with his wife Rebecca and their three children Amos (5), Isobel (3), Micah (7). (Daniel Hartley-Allen)

NATHAN Barrett and the Country Liberal Party have won the Blain by-election in convincing style.

Labor candidate Geoff Bahnert needed a 13 per cent swing but could only gain 10 points.
The win means the CLP will continue to govern with a majority.
HOW IT UNFOLDED
The CLP held the seat vacated by former Chief Minister Terry Mills with 53.2 per cent of two-party preferred vote to Labor’s 46.8 per cent.
The CLP polled 45.5 per cent of the primary vote to Labor’s 37.4 per cent.
That result was a 16.1 per cent swing against the Government, but it was Independent Matthew Cranitch, a vocal critic of the CLP in his role as Education Union NT President, who helped Mr Barrett to the victory with preferences.
Mr Barrett said it had “been a long six weeks”.
“It’s all a little surreal,” he said.
“Tonight was just people sitting around the computer and then ‘Oh, we won’.
“As the night progressed it set in. I’m just excited now to work with the electorate … (and) begin implementing the programs we’ve been looking at.
“We can now get out and serve the electorate.”
Mr Cranitch polled 8.6 per cent of the primary vote, while Greens candidate Sue McKinnon polled 7.1 per cent and the CEC’s Peter Flynn 1.5 per cent.
Mr Bahnert told his party faithful that the people of Blain had voted to send Mr Giles a message.
“It’s not okay to burden our families with skyrocketing power prices, it’s not okay to sack our teachers,” he said.
A total of 68.2 per cent of registered voters turned up.
Mr Cranitch called the low turnout an “indictment on our current state of affairs”.
Some voters expressed frustration at the tactics of politicians, who turned out in droves to put the final word on voters.
Kaitlyn El-Zahed from Rosebery was unfazed, but unsure about who to vote for.
“I voted for the Greens because I didn’t know who to bite for,” she said.
“If in doubt I vote Greens. We’ve only been here a few months so I don’t know who’s who and I haven’t met any of them.”
Ms El-Zahed, a 30-year-old uni student from Rosebery, was voting with her sons Adam, 5, and Xavier, 2; at Rosebery Middle School.
But she said stopping power privatisation was important.
“We lived in Melbourne and I don’t like power privatisation.,” she said.
“It’s really bad customer service and systems are failing. That’s what we’ve got down there and if that was to happen to power and water that would be a step back.”
Student teacher Lana Menadue and technician husband Michael were happy with the NT Government.
“We’ve always liked liberals,” Mr Menadue, 25, said. “We’ve always voted that way.”
Neither could recall their preferences, but said they probably donkey-voted.
“I’m a big Terry Mills supporter and I know Terry supported Nathan so I went with that,” she said.
Plumber Mark Baine declined to say who he voted for, but said power prices had risen enough.
He cast his vote at busy Rosebery Middle School with accountant wife Michele.
But he said he had business in mind when he voted.
“Obviously the cost of power — they all say they’re going to drop prices and everything, but inevitably it’s going to go up,” the 47-year-old said.
“The hierarchy are lining their own pockets and not spending money on upgrades of infrastructure.
“They need to pay for that and that’s going to be paid for with your and my money.
“Prices for power are the highest in the country.”

Courtesy of NT News

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