OUTGOING transport minister Terry Mulder has easily retained Polwarth for the Liberal Party, holding back an evening of big swings to Labor.
Mr Mulder has left the door open to serving in a frontbench opposition role under the new Coalition leader, with former treasurer Michael O’Brien or outgoing planning minister Matthew Guy likely to gain the leadership position.
The long-serving Polwarth MP said he had long vowed the 2014-18 period would be his last term as the constituency’s representative.
“I’ve spent time in opposition, time in government, so I’m happy to serve in whatever capacity the new Liberal Party leader sees fit,” Mr Mulder said.
“I represent a great electorate and it was pleasing to see my primary vote rise in Polwarth over the weekend. I’ve always indicated this will be my final term, whether or not we retained government.”
The outgoing transport minister paid tribute to Denis Napthine’s leadership and said the retiring premier conducted a strong campaign in difficult circumstances.
“You always live in hope that you’ll win but we faced an uphill battle,” Mr Mulder said. “State and federal issues were clouded and that took away some oxygen from the campaign.
“Denis Napthine will be judged as an excellent premier but there was obviously a shift in overall voter attitude that we had to battle against.”
On a two-party preferred basis, Labor secured a swing of 2.6 per cent which was below the statewide average.
Mr Mulder gained a first preference vote of 56 per cent, Labor candidate Libby Coker gained nearly 28 per cent while Greens candidate Simon Northeast gained nearly 11 per cent — a record for the minor party in the electorate.
Country Alliance candidate Phil Edge picked up five per cent of all first preferences.
Mrs Coker was was unavailable for comment yesterday.