Senior Liberal Sophie Mirabella in danger as independent Cathy McGowan holds lead

Liberal candidate Sophie Mirabella: The answer is in the post. Photo: Ben Eyles / Border Mail In front: Cathy McGowan, independent candidate for the seat of Indi. Photo: Michael Clayton-Jones
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Sophie Mirabella, still in danger of losing her seat of Indi. Photo: Mal Fairclough

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The seat of Indi in north-east Victoria is on a knife-edge as postal votes continue to be counted, with prominent Liberal Sophie Mirabella still in danger of losing her seat to independent Cathy McGowan.

However, the gap has narrowed on the latest count.

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Ms Mirabella, who is assured of a cabinet post in the Abbott ministry if she manages to return to Parliament, is now reliant only on a strong postal vote to save her.

With more than 80 per cent of the vote counted, Ms McGowan was leading by just 759 votes at 5pm Tuesday.

Earlier in the afternoon, Ms McGowan was leading by 1049 votes.

This translates to 50.5 per cent of the two-party preferred vote for Ms McGowan, leading Ms Mirabella’s 49.5.

Ms McGowan has won all booths in the larger cities of Wodonga and Wangaratta, swept Beechworth and took the majority of the vote in Benalla. However, Ms Mirabella retained strong support in most smaller towns and rural areas.

The final result now hinges on postal votes.

While these usually favour the incumbent, close observers point out that most of these votes would have been cast before Ms Mirabella and her team, recognising they were in serious trouble as the campaign progressed, mounted a final desperate effort to try to persuade voters not to back an independent.

However, Ms Mirabella would earlier have sent the vast majority of postal vote applications to constituents, each with a plea attached to cast their vote for her.

The original release of this article first appeared on the website of Shanghai Night Net.

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