Labor's Kristy McBain claims victory
Labor candidate Kristy McBain has claimed victory in the Eden-Monaro byelection.
The former Bega mayor has maintained a narrow lead over Liberal candidate Fiona Kotvojs ever since polls closed and counting began yesterday afternoon.
Counting is still ongoing, and according to the latest figures from the Australian Electoral Commission, McBain is ahead with a 0.7 per cent swing on a two-party preferred basis, collecting 50.87 per cent of the votes comparted to Kotvojs' 49.13 per cent.
Confident in her lead, McBain announced her victory to reporters this afternoon, saying she was "very chuffed".
"I am very pleased and honoured to be the next member for Eden-Monaro," McBain said.
"It is a great privilege, one that I am very chuffed. The voters have got behind me."
McBain said the battle for the bellweather seat had been fought on local issues, rather than federal politics.
"It has been about bushfire relief, it has been about COVID and the economic impacts of that on our communities. It has been on drought," she said.
History was always on Labor's side – a government hasn't claimed a seat from an opposition in a by-election in 100 years.
However, with polls showing strong support for Prime Minister Scott Morrison, the Liberal Party had believed they may have been in with a chance to snatch the seat from Labor.
Opposition leader Anthony Albanese described the result as an "against the odds victory" for McBain, who had to step into the footsteps of the seat's popular retiring MP, Mike Kelly
"We had the retirement of a sitting member who had served his nation in uniform and then served in the parliament with distinction. He was very popular," he said.