Canning by-election: Andrew Hastie wins, pays tribute late Don Randall

LIBERAL Andrew Hastie easily claimed victory in the Canning by-election called this September due to the untimely death of former Liberal member Don Randall in July.

His first major act as the newest member for Canning was to pay tribute to Mr Randall.

He said Mr Randall did his best to improve the lives of the people of Canning.

Mr Hastie acknowledged Mr Randall’s family and said he had learned “what it is to be a member of parliament through the life’s work of Don Randall.”

“I’m disappointed I never met Don, but I have learnt many lessons about his leadership and service,” he said.

The Australian Electoral Commission count said Mr Hastie had 55.13 per cent of the two candidate preferred vote and Labor’s Matt Keogh had 44.87 per cent.

At that time, the swing against the Liberal party was 6.68 per cent.

Before Tony Abbott was replaced by current Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, the swing was predicted by some political pundits to get as high as ten percent.

In comparison, Andrew Hastie’s predecessor Mr Randall commanded an 11.8 per cent margin at the last election.

During Mr Hastie’s victory speech he thanked his wife Ruth and month old baby Jonathon for their support.

He reiterated his commitment to fight the scourge of ice in the community.

Mr Hastie pointed out Canning’s geographic isolation during his speech and pointed out that the people in the electorate do not care for political games.

“London and Moscow are closer together than Perth and Canberra,” he said.

He also paid tribute to Foreign Minister and Deputy Prime Minister Julie Bishop.

“One of my favourite memories was watching the Foreign Minister jump from a truck in heels and land upright,” he said.

Prime Minister Turnbull did not appear at Mr Hastie’s victory party, but he did congratulate Mr Hastie via twitter.

Mr Keogh called to concede defeat to Mr Hastie after 8pm.

He also paid tribute to Mr Randall in his speech.

Mr Keogh said his “drive to stand up for our area is greater than it’s ever been – and will continue”.

He said the swing was a huge effort and Labor won the first war by “getting rid of Tony Abbott”.

Liberal head quarters in Pinjarra were abuzz with excitement following the announcement that Mr Hastie had won the seat of Canning.

He walked into the room to the sounds of applause.

Neither Mr Hastie nor Mr Keogh could vote in the Canning by-election.

It was too late to enrol to vote by the time they moved to the electorate.

The mood from voters at polling stations before polls closed was mostly that of disinterest.

A pair of elderly women said they “would be glad when this is over” and another woman said she had thought about not voting and “just copping a fine.”

Who is Andrew Hastie?

Andrew Hastie is a Special Air Services veteran, who resigned as a captain in the SAS on August 20 after beating six other applicants for the Liberal candidacy.

Mr Hastie (32) spent the last 13 years in the army, six of those with the SAS.

His tasks included leading sensitive strategic operations in Afghanistan in 2012-2013, where he worked alongside Afghan partner forces and conducted strike missions against the Taliban.

In 2013, he went to Papua New Guinea with a government team and looked first-hand at Operation Sovereign Borders.

Earlier in the year, he was in the Middle East for coalition operations against Islamic State.

During his campaign he said job security was the first major issue, especially in Mandurah, with youth employment at 17 per cent.

Second was drug-related crime in the south metropolitan area.

“With my background in military I know what it’s like to work out a problem and when it comes to ice, you need an integrated approach – law enforcement and community solution,” he said.

“One of the first things I’d do if elected would be to bring educators, law enforcement, medical people, community representatives together and work on this problem.”

Mr Hastie also said lack of phone coverage in semi-isolated areas, such as Byford and further south near Waroona needed to be addressed.