Connelly takes Stirling as Liberals hold on

Stirling-elect Vince Connelly with wife Peta and children Tyler (15), Noah (13) and Tiggy (16).
Stirling-elect Vince Connelly with wife Peta and children Tyler (15), Noah (13) and Tiggy (16).

FORMER soldier Vince Connelly will replace long-serving Stirling MHR Michael Keenan in Canberra after the Liberal Party retained the seat in Saturday’s Federal Election.

Former Human Services Minister Mr Keenan announced in January he was retiring from Federal politics, supporting Mr Connelly, of Scarborough, during the election campaign.

“I am so grateful for the support that the local community has given me, by choosing me to represent them in our Federal Parliament,” Mr Connelly said.

“I will continue to build on the legacy of the outgoing Liberal Member for Stirling, Michael Keenan, and will continue to advocate for our local community.”

Labor campaigned hard for the seat, which Liberals have held since 2004, despite needing to overcome a 6 per cent margin.

Its candidate, Asbestos Diseases Society of Australia chief operating officer Melita Markey, was only able to gain about a one per cent swing towards her after 66 per cent of votes counted.

An electronic road sign seen on Erindale Road in Balcatta on Sunday read “Vince Connelly Thanks you” alongside an election poster for Mr Connelly.

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Mr Keenan congratulated Mr Connelly on the “stunning win” via Facebook on Sunday.

“Vince worked tirelessly over the past six weeks of the campaign to convince voters that he was someone who they could trust and that hard work has been rewarded,” he said.

Sign saying “Vince Connelly Thanks you” taken the day after the Federal Election on Erindale Road in Balcatta. Photo: Justin Bianchini

It was a similar story in Curtin, with Liberal candidate Celia Hammond replacing retiring former Foreign Minister Julie Bishop.

After 72 per cent of votes were counted, Prof Hammond had 64.5 per cent of the two-party preferred vote, and Labor had the remainder after a 6.2 per cent swing to it.

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The former Notre Dame University vice-chancellor said she wanted to follow in Ms Bishop’s footsteps as a “passionate advocate for her constituency”.

“I want to get my feet under the desk, and get out into the electorate because over the duration of campaign I’ve found it to be larger and with a broader and more diverse demographic than it is often perceived to be,” she said.