Tim Wilson admits defeat but other Liberal MPs yet to concede to teal independents

by Paul Karp
Josh Frydenberg maintains theoretical path to victory despite being thousands of votes behind

Tim Wilson has conceded defeat to independent Zoe Daniel in Goldstein, after a string of Liberal MPs indicated they could hold out while postal votes are counted despite a slim theoretical path to victory.

Independents are leading with margins of at least 4,000 votes in the blue-ribbon inner-city seats of Goldstein and Kooyong in Melbourne, as well as North Sydney. Josh Frydenberg and Trent Zimmerman are yet to concede after the teal sweep that appears to have wiped out a generation of moderate Liberals.

On Sunday the independent in Wentworth, Allegra Spender, revealed she “hadn’t heard from [the Liberal MP] Dave Sharma today”. Spender said she would be the next member for Wentworth. She currently has a lead of 7,681 votes and is up 56.7% to 43.3% in two-party-preferred terms.

In the Perth seat of Curtin, Celia Hammond is yet to concede to Kate Chaney, despite trailing by 3,746 votes.

Guardian Australia understands that Liberal MP Jason Falinski called his opponent in Mackellar, Sophie Scamps, leaving a message to concede defeat on Saturday evening.

With 69.5% of the vote counted, Zoe Daniel led in Goldstein by 5,617 votes on Saturday evening, a two-party-preferred result of 53.8% for the independent to Wilson’s 46.2%.

Wilson suffered a 13.3% swing against him, bringing the Liberal primary down to 39.4%. In Goldstein, there were 21,374 valid postal applications, of which 15,256 postal votes have been returned.

On Sunday, Wilson told reporters in Melbourne that based on the first batch of postal votes it was “increasingly unlikely I’ll be in a position to be re-elected”. “I’m formally conceding defeat.”

Wilson said it “wasn’t as though” he had lost the seat due to factors unique to his representation of Goldstein, noting the Liberals had suffered swings to independents in Kooyong, Wentworth, Mackellar, and North Sydney, and to Labor in Higgins.

Earlier on Sunday Frydenberg told reporters in Melbourne that postal votes were about “12% of the overall vote” in Kooyong and that he would wait until more are counted before commenting on the “particular results” his electorate.

“It is mathematically possible that I could retain Kooyong but it is obviously very, very difficult,” the treasurer said.

With 67.8% of the vote counted in Kooyong, Frydenberg trails Monique Ryan by 4,946 votes, down 45.6% to 54.4% in two-party-preferred terms.

According to the Australian Electoral Commission, some 23,380 electors in Kooyong applied for postal votes, with 16,676 returned but not counted and the rest not returned.

Frydenberg said he would “take some time to reflect on my future plans”, promising to “spend more time with the kids and with my wife”, but did not rule out a future political tilt.

“Well, I am 50 … What is it they say, ‘50 as the new 30’? I definitely have got plenty of fire in my belly, plenty of time to do other things.”

Earlier, Daniel told reporters in Melbourne that “obviously counting is still to happen”.

“But [ABC psephologist] Antony Green has called it. And we’ll go with that, with confidence in the numbers as much as there is some counting still to come,” the former ABC journalist said.

“It’s a big life change for me. It’s exciting though, and it’s a way of making a contribution to community that I never necessarily expected.

“But I have been so embraced by the volunteers who’ve worked on my campaign – that has been wonderfully positive. And I look forward to providing honest, sincere representation for the people.”

Wilson told Guardian Australia: “Time in parliament shouldn’t be measured in terms or years but outcomes. I’m immensely proud of everything we achieved in the last six years for the nation.”

In North Sydney, independent Kylea Tink leads Zimmerman by 4,397 votes, up 53.7% to 46.3% in two-party-preferred terms. Electors in that seat applied for 19,994 postal votes, of which 8,290 have been returned.