Bull elected for a third term

Bull elected for a third term

Tim Bull has maintained his parliamentary seat in Gippsland East, the sitting local Nationals member earning a third term advocating for his region with a comfortable State Election victory at the weekend.

With Labor claiming a one-sided victory across the state, the Nationals held firm in regional seats with Mr Bull earning 57.49 per cent of the first preference vote in the Gippsland East electorate after 77.25 per cent of votes had been counted.

The Gippsland East result somewhat mirrors Mr Bull’s victory four years ago when Labor ousted the Coalition to take power. It was a slight drop from the 60.36 per cent of first preference votes Mr Bull earned in 2014, however showed the National Party’s strength within the region.

Mr Bull’s third term will be his toughest yet such is Labor’s stranglehold with a majority of around 60 seats. The Coalition will likely have less than 25 seats after the final votes are counted with many tight results not expected to be known until later in the week.

Mr Bull’s stiffest opposition came from Labor candidate, Mark Reeves, who had gathered 21.55 per cent of the vote, followed by Liberal Democratic candidate, Sonia Buckley, who was supported with 6.10 per cent after drawing the first place on the ballot paper.

The next best performed was Greens candidate, Deb Foskey (5.78 per cent) followed by Independents Matt Stephenson (4.07 per cent), George Neophytou (3.26 per cent) and Ben Garrett (1.754 per cent).

Mr Reeves helped the Labor party improve its percentage in the region fractionally, however for Dr Foskey the Greens slipped more than two per cent.

Mr Bull was the popular vote across the polling booths in the Lakes Entrance area (Johnsonville, Lakes Entrance, Lakes Entrance East, Metung, Nowa Nowa, Nungurner and Toorloo Arm) winning more than 50 per cent of the first preference vote (2607) among the 5104 votes that had been counted at time of going to press.

Mr Reeves polled 1331, receiving strong support at the Lakes Entrance Mechanics Hall polling booths, where he was seen during the mid morning.

Mr Bull had improved his two-party preferred standing.

Speaking on Sunday morning with three quarters of the total votes counted, Mr Bull said he was “very humbled” to have increased his two-party preferred standing.

“With over 76 per cent of the vote counted in Gippsland East, it is humbling to have increased my two-party preferred vote at yesterday’s state election, against a state-wide swing,” Mr Bull said.

“It is very much a bittersweet situation with the state-wide result and there are a number of seats still in the balance where some good friends and colleagues appear to have lost their positions.

“I wish to congratulate all the candidates who stood in Gippsland East for the friendly way the campaign unfolded, which showed politics and elections can be conducted in good spirit by those participating, outside the keyboard warriors of social media.

“This is a great region and I look forward to being its representative in the Legislative Assembly of the State Parliament for a further four years.”

PICTURED: Gordon and June Russell and Neil Moore cast their votes in the State Election on Saturday at St Brendan’s Primary School. Nationals member for Gippsland East, Tim Bull, comfortably held on to his seat in the Gippsland East electorate, however, it was a difficult day for the Liberals/Nationals Coalition with the Labor Party increasing its majority.