Nationals candidate a clear winner
By DARREN COYNE
IT took five counts to declare Geoff Provest of the Nationals the winner of the Tweed election.
Mr Provest took the early lead with 18,585 after the first preference votes were counted followed by Labor's Neville Newell with 15,531. The Greens candidate Tom Tabart scored 3116, Independent Gavin Lawrie had 1225 and Julie Boyd of the Democrats collected 1222.
Surprisingly there were 540 voters in the Tweed electorate prepared to give their vote to Will King of the Australians Against Further Immigration, despite the fact Mr King lives in western Sydney, and has not been seen or heard of throughout the campaign.
Mr King, of course, was the first to go and his votes were distributed to the other candidates. Tabart picked up 43, Newell scored 38, Provest and Boyd each received 32 and Lawrie got 15. The rest were exhausted.
Lawrie, with 1240 votes was the next to go, and Provest picked up 211, Boyd scored 210, Newell got 80 and Tom Tabart an extra 44. With just 1464 votes, it was goodbye to Julie Boyd.
Ms Boyd's votes propped up Tabart with an extra 399, while Newell received 218 and Provest got 180. But those extra 399 were not enough to keep Tabart in the race and he was excluded with 3602 votes.
And despite his decision not to direct preferences to Neville Newell, it was Newell who scored the majority of those votes. Newell picked up 1390 while Provest got 427.
But those 427 votes were enough to push Geoff Provest over the line and into a seat in NSW Parliament.
The final result was Provest 19,435 and Newell 17,257.