THE incumbent party retained each of Sydney’s three most Jewish electorates at Saturday’s election.
Liberal members Malcolm Turnbull and Paul Fletcher each increased their vote in Wentworth and Bradfield respectively, while in Kingsford Smith, Labor’s Matt Thistlethwaite overcame a strong performance from Liberal challenger Michael Fenely to win on preferences.
Turnbull, who is expected to be Communications Minister in the new Abbott government, claimed 63.29 per cent of the primary vote in Wentworth.
Marsha Foxman, the Jewish candidate who ran for Clive Palmer’s Palmer United Party, received 778 votes.
“It has been a very enlightening experience for me, that I am grateful to you all for and I trust that in spite of the hard work, that you enjoyed the journey also,” she said to supporters after the election.
Fletcher, who with a swing of 3.04 per cent won 71.22 per cent of the two-party preferred vote, described the result as a satisfying win.
“I’m very pleased that we have achieved a swing towards the Liberal Party in Bradfield of a bit over three per cent,” Fletcher said.
“I also want to express my thanks to the significant Jewish community in Bradfield.”
Meanwhile, the Labor Party may have held onto the fastest growing Jewish seat in Australia, Kingsford Smith, but lost the primary vote there for the first time.
Labor’s Thistlethwaite, who left the Senate to contest the seat following the retirement of former Midnight Oil front-man Peter Garrett, received 42.98 per cent of the primary vote compared to Feneley’s 43.29 per cent.
But after preferences, with Greens candidate James Macdonald receiving nearly 10 per cent of the vote, Thistethwaite was elected with 53.16 per cent of the two-party preferred vote.
Thistlethwaite described the victory as the “toughest fight against the Liberals that Labor has ever seen” at his post-election party.
“The Liberals threw everything they had at us,” he said.
When he declared victory shortly after 9pm he was humble and paid tribute to his opponent.
“Anyone who does put their hand up for public office three times does deserve respect,” he said.
JOSHUA LEVI AND GARETH NARUNSKY
Malcolm Turnbull increased his primary vote in Wentworth.