LIBERAL MP Dan Tehan has described his win in Wannon as "very humbling".
A jubilant Mr Tehan, who recorded a substantial boost to his primary vote, celebrated in Warrnambool with supporters before heading to Hamilton as Tony Abbott became Australia’s next prime minister.
Speaking to The Standard from his election night party, Mr Tehan said he had "tried to work as hard as I can on the local issues".
He said the Coalition's $10 million funding commitment to Peter's Project and cash for roads had helped deliver his increased majority.
He assured the demands of government would not distract him from his electorate.
"This is something new obviously. I've spent the last three years as an MP in opposition, now I will spend the next three in government. I want to be a strong voice for the constituents here in Wannon. I hope to remain accessible and approachable."
He saved praise for Labor opponent Michael Barling who telephoned to congratulate him late in the evening: "We've got a mutual respect for each other. I said that I thought he was a high calibre candidate. I said it had been a good campaign that focused on local issues.
"I said we will sit down for lunch in a couple weeks and swap campaign stories."
The Wannon MP will be part of the Abbott Government’s caucus, alongside new Corangamite MP Sarah Henderson.
The former television presenter and lawyer has defeated Labor MP Darren Cheeseman, picking up Australia’s most marginal electorate for the Liberal Party.
Mr Tehan’s primary vote has increased by more than eight per cent, while the Labor Party has been sliced by two per cent.
On a two-party preferred basis, the Liberal Party now holds Wannon on a very safe margin of 10 per cent, despite the 2011 redistribution.
Greens candidate Tim Emanuelle has picked up six per cent of the vote and Palmer United has gained four per cent, despite not running a candidate who lived in the area.
In a night of upsets, Palmer United leader Clive Palmer was on course to win the Queensland seat of Fairfax while maverick MP Bob Katter has been hit by a massive swing in his seat of Kennedy.
Mallee will be retained by the National Party, with former Victorian Farmers Federation president Andrew Broad elected for the first time.