Election 2016 update: Cowan on a knife’s edge as Anne Aly takes a slim lead

Cowan's Labor candidate Dr Anne Aly on Election Day.
Luke Simpkins with poll booth volunteers at Beechboro Primary School on Saturday.
Cowan's Labor candidate Dr Anne Aly on Election Day. Luke Simpkins with poll booth volunteers at Beechboro Primary School on Saturday.

THE seat of Cowan remains on a razor’s edge as counting resumes today with Labor’s Anne Aly 959 votes ahead of sitting Liberal MP Luke Simpkins.

With 77.2% of the votes counted on Saturday night, Dr Aly held 50.7% of the two-party preferred vote.

Dr Aly told the Guardian Express on Saturday she could “hold her head high” after her campaign.

The Labor candidate said that the Liberal Party has neglected Cowan and WA.

“I believe the Liberal Government has taken Western Australia for granted. If you compare the election spending promises in WA with the eastern states, and if you look at the GST issue – they have taken WA for granted for too long,” she said.

“My first priority if elected will be to raise the profile of Cowan in the Parliament. Health is a major issue with everyone I have spoken to, and the NBN is a big issue with many people in business – as well as students,” she said.

“It is a diverse electorate and there are many important issues here.”

Dr Aly told the Guardian Express that she had expected the Liberal Party to attack her record as an anti-terrorism expert.

“It was expected, sadly. It is a shame that politics has been debased in that way. I would like to see less negativity,” she said.

“The only way to change it is to run your own race with integrity, and we have done that. I can hold my high and say we have done that.”

Dr Aly was criticised by Stirling MHR Michael Keenan for writing a letter recommending radical Islamist preacher Junaid Thorne for a de-radicalisation program.

Former radicals are often used in counter-terrorism programs.

Dr Aly’s expertise has been sought by many political leaders, including US President Barack Obama.

Mr Simpkins said he would have a better idea when counting resumes whether he would be re-elected.

“We knew it was going to be a tight contest here in Cowan when the margin was reduced in January,” he said.

“However, everything we have done here in Cowan has been fought strongly and legitimately with honour and integrity.

“Every time our opponents spoke, they pushed Labor lies.

“Labor lied about a 15 per cent GST, Labor lied about changes to Medicare, Labor lied about penalty rates and used their union muscle to push these into the community.”

The Greens’ Sheridan Young is in third place with 6.7 per cent of the primary vote.