Former television newsreader Jo Palmer has been elected to Tasmanian Parliament with a wafer-thin margin.
Ms Palmer went into Tuesday’s count for the upper house election in Rosevears with a lead of 2577 primary votes ahead of independent candidate Janie Finlay.
In the end, just 260 votes separated them.
This means Ms Palmer will take a seat on plush red couches in the Legislative Council at the end of the month.
She said she was on the school pick-up run when word came in that she would serve the Rosevears electorate for the next six years.
“The last few hours were pretty tense, and I’ll tell you, there were a few tears when the official results came in,” she said.
“It is really nerve-racking. I never understood until now what candidates actually go through.
With the result officially in, Ms Palmer said she was keen to get to work.
“I think what the people of Rosevears want is someone who is going to be knocking on their door every day of every year, not just during an election campaign,” she said.
“I will always listen to my electorate … but I’m very respectful of the fact that I am part of a team.”
Premier Peter Gutwein said Ms Palmer would be an outstanding member of Parliament.
“She works hard, she’s diligent, and most importantly, she’s kind,” he said.
“I do also want to offer my condolences to Janie Finlay. She ran a hard and determined campaign, but unfortunately she wasn’t successful this time around.”
FINLAY LOOKS FORWARD
With the margin only coming down to a mere 260 votes, Ms Finlay said she was proud of the election result she delivered and was grateful for the support she had from the community.
“Throughout my campaign I have learned lots and met lots of great people,” she said.
Ms Finlay said she loved getting to know her fellow Rosevears candidates and learning more about what they love about the electorate.
She said for now she planned to put another log on the fire and spend time with her family and friends.
“Right now, my focus is completely on soaking up all that I have achieved over the past year and being grateful for my family, friends and community who have been with me every step of the way,” Ms Finlay said.
HOW THE ROSEVEARS COUNT PLAYED OUT:
At the start of the preference cut-up on Tuesday, Ms Palmer had won 41.5 per cent of primary votes and Ms Finlay had won 30.3 per cent.
Labor candidate Jess Greene won 9 per cent of all first-preference votes and Greens candidate Jack Davenport had won 7.4 per cent.
Independent candidate David Fry won 8.3 per cent of all primary votes and independent candidate Vivienne Gale won 3.3 per cent.
Ms Finlay picked up 302 votes and Ms Palmer picked up 122 votes once Ms Gale was excluded.
Ms Finlay gained more ground when Mr Davenport’s votes were distributed, winning 631 of them to Ms Palmer’s 139.
Ms Greene scored 784 votes.
The election’s outcome was not made any more clearer once Mr Fry’s votes were distributed.
A former Liberal MHA, it was thought that a majority of his votes could flow on to Ms Palmer, however, more than half went to Ms Finlay.
Even though Ms Finlay received 1014 of these votes compared to 954 to Ms Palmer, the Liberal candidate still lead her closest rival by 1835 votes.
With three candidates left in the race, it emerged that Ms Finlay would need almost 80 per cent of the votes from the Labor election candidate to win.
As was expected, a majority of Ms Greene’s votes went against Ms Palmer.
Ms Finlay received 2370 votes and Ms Palmer received 795 which was just enough for the Liberal candidate to secure the win.
RESULT IN HUON:
Labor candidate Bastian Seidel has been elected in as the upper house member for Huon, ousting independent incumbent Robert Armstrong.
Mr Seidel won 57.3 per cent of all votes and Mr Armstrong won 42.7 per cent.
Labor’s David O’Byrne said the Legislative Council would continue to be a house of review even though a majority of the chamber was aligned with the state’s two major political parties.
“At the end of the day, the people of Tasmania have voted and decided who they want to represent them in the upper house,” he said.
“Individual members, regardless of whether they are in a party or not, have the ability to introduce legislation.”