Tasmania’s Liberal Party has secured majority government by winning a crucial 13th seat in the state’s lower house.
After a lengthy wait following the May 1 poll, preference distributions delivered the seat in the Hobart-based electorate of Clark to Liberal Madeleine Ogilvie on Wednesday night.
Premier Peter Gutwein, who claimed victory on election night, had pledged to step down if the party couldn’t secure majority in the 25-member lower house.
Ms Ogilvie, a former Labor MP and independent, was among a field of four candidates jostling for two in-doubt seats in Clark.
Under Tasmania’s Hare-Clark voting system, five MPs are elected in each of the state’s five electorates.
It is the first time the Liberals have won three consecutive terms in Tasmania.
“This is a historic result for the Tasmanian Liberal Party,” Mr Gutwein said in a statement.
“We have done it with an outstanding statewide result, including swings to the Liberal Party in Bass, Braddon and Lyons.”
Mr Gutwein heralded the state’s strong economic position and recovery out of coronavirus, but conceded there is “more to do”.
“We will continue building on our strong economic position, so we can create more jobs and ensure we have the skills and training pathways Tasmanians need,” he said.
Independent Kristie Johnston won the remaining seat in Clark, with fellow independent and former Liberal Speaker Sue Hickey falling short.
Tasmania went to the polls a year early after Ms Hickey quit the Liberals to run as an independent, plunging the government into minority.
Labor has retained nine seats in the House of Assembly, while the Greens have also kept their two.
Ms Ogilvie had been sitting on the crossbench as an independent when the state election was called, but joined the Liberals shortly afterwards.
“I have always sought to place the people of Clark first, and this will not change moving forward,” she said.
“The people of Tasmania voted for stable majority government and I am proud to be part of a team that will deliver that.”
Incumbent governments have been returned at all five state and territory elections in Australia since the beginning of the pandemic.