One of the women who Tony Abbott had hoped to install in his Cabinet, Sophie Mirabella, has conceded defeat in her Victorian regional electorate.
Mrs Mirabella, who was the coalition’s industry and science spokeswoman, went to the election with a 10 per cent margin in the seat of Indi.
The electorate had only once been held by the ALP back between 1929 and 1931.
But a grassroots campaign by conservative independent Cathy McGowan and a reaction by voters across the seat undid Mrs Mirabella.
In a statement, released as Mr Abbott and the Cabinet were being sworn into office, Mrs Mirabella said she had contacted Ms McGowan to congratulate her on victory.
The Australian Electoral Commission has about 500 votes to count with Ms McGowan 367 votes in front.
“Representing the people of Indi in the Federal Parliament has been a high honour and a very special privilege,” Mrs Mirabella said.
“I want to thank the electors of Indi for their support over the last decade. They have enriched my life and that of my family and, together, we have achieved so much for our community.”
Mrs Mirabella said despite the closeness of the count she would not be seeking a recount.
“I unreservedly accept the decision of the democratic process,” she said.
The former frontbencher did not rule out a tilt at winning back the seat.
“I will work with every ounce of my being to see this seat return to the Coalition but that is for another day,” she said.
There are now two seats undecided from the September 7 election.
Labor’s Rob Mitchell holds a 289 vote lead in the Victorian seat of McEwen with analysts expecting him to hold on.
In Queensland, Clive Palmer holds a 64 vote lead over the LNP’s Ted O’Brien.