Dear valued subscriber,
Wannon MP Dan Tehan late last night remained favourite to retain his seat in federal parliament despite independent Alex Dyson taking a chunk out of the margin.
With votes from 92 of 93 booths counted by 11.40pm last night, Mr Tehan had 44.36 per cent of first preference votes, 6.99 per cent less than at the 2019 poll.
Mr Dyson had 20.36 per cent of the vote, up 10.44 per cent on 2019. His share was slightly ahead of Labor's Gilbert Wilson, who had 19.08 per cent, 6.84 per cent less than the ALP's vote three years ago.
For the first time in living memory, no candidate declared victory in Wannon on election night. Nor were any of the leading contenders conceding defeat. The rise of the independent was a major talking point last night as results from across the country were dissected. Mr Dyson's performance cannot be underestimated, outpolling Labor, possibly the first time it has happened in Wannon. It will be interesting to see whether his lead over Labor holds up with about a further 28,000 votes still to be counted at 11.40pm last night. The flow of preferences is unclear because Mr Dyson campaigned on an open ticket rather than issuing a how to vote card. Late last night he and Mr Tehan said the result was in the balance.
While Mr Tehan might hang on to his seat, he won't be in government with Scott Morrison conceding defeat last night.
There was plenty happening across the region beyond the federal poll this week. The state government made two important announcements, the first was $1.6m to help upgrade facilities at Port Fairy's Gardens Oval and the second was the imminent start on a $2.9m social housing project in west Warrnambool. It's a great start but there's lot more needed in the region.
Warrnambool's Kepler Street is set for a dramatic change with Gunditjmara Aboriginal Co-Operative unveiling plans for a major extension/redevelopment of its site. It comes as the vacant former Criterion Hotel site is set to be transformed into luxury apartments.
We've highlighted the role of volunteers this week, which was volunteers week. Check out the feature story below about Bobby Frost, who at 88, still volunteers for multiple groups. There was our story about the SES volunteers, Port Campbell's volunteer fire captain and a host of organisations searching for more helpers as numbers dwindle.
Warrnambool's aria contest has been cancelled this year, which was disappointing after organisers had fought so hard to resurrect it a decade or 20 ago.
The latest wave of COVID-19 cases in the region has caused headaches for employers, including police. Schools are doing a great job in staying open despite widespread teacher illnesses but the virus has brought some sporting clubs to a grinding halt. The flu, too, is impacting people. I've had several people tell me they'd take COVID-19 over the flu such has been severity of the impacts. But this story might explain why the flu is hitting us harder.
Check out some of the other stories that made headlines this week, below.
Until next week,
Greg Best, editor, The Standard
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