Independents decimate Liberals’ frontbenchers

by Dominic Giannini

At least three Liberal ministers have suffered damaging early swings against them as the first polling results begin to filter through.

Treasurer Josh Frydenberg is trailing Independent Monique Ryan with a nine per cent swing against him, and is projected to lose the seat by a three per cent margin, according to the ABC.

An almost four per cent swing against Defence Minister Peter Dutton in Dickson has him and Labor Party Ali France leapfrogging each other as results continue to see the seat bounce between both camps.

Housing Minister Michael Sukkar has also suffered an early 5.2 per cent swing against him in his Melbourne-based seat of Deakin and is projected to lose it to Labor’s Matt Gregg by 0.5 per cent, according to the ABC.

Assistant Minister Tim Wilson is also trailing independent Zoe Daniel by more than six per cent after a 14.2 per cent swing against him.

Earlier in the day, Scott Morrison championed a strong economy and a stronger future in his final pitch to voters as he cast what could be his final ballot as prime minister.

Receiving a rockstar welcome at the local Lilli Pilli primary school in his electorate of Cook, Mr Morrison lauded the community that has installed him in parliament since 2007.

“I love this community. This community has given me so many opportunities, and our family so many opportunities, and I’m very grateful to my local electorate,” he told reporters and supporters on Saturday.

But not all locals were as welcoming in the Liberal heartland, criticising the Prime Minister for being parachuted into the electorate from the eastern suburbs in 2007.

Bitter reception

“He can go back to Bronte, he pretends he’s from the shire but he’s not, he’s a parachute. We remember,” one local said.

“The problem is we have so many beautiful beaches and parks here and he doesn’t (care) about the environment, otherwise he wouldn’t vote with who he votes with.”

In his final pitch to voters, the prime minister reiterated his economic credentials and implored Australians to vote for an experienced government in uncertain times.

“What Australia needs is someone who knows how to manage money, knows how to deal with our national security interests, knows how to be able to move forward and secure that strong economy,” he said.

“Because a strong economy means a stronger future.”

Other Liberals were less optimistic on Saturday, with former defence minister Christopher Pine seemingly all but resigned to defeat in the polls.

“It’s going to be one of those days for the Liberal Party,” he told Sky News.

“We’ll win some new seats, we’ll lose a few seats. Labor will probably form government.

“But you never want to say never when Scott Morrison is involved.”

Mr Morrison started the day north of Melbourne, in the marginal seat of McEwen, handing out how-to-vote cards with candidate Richard Welch at Laurimar Primary School.