Labor declared victory for the Victorian seat of Batman overnight, with Ged Kearney as their candidate.
“Oh, they said we’d never do it, but we did,” Kearney exclaimed to the post-election crowd at an event in Thornbury. “I want the people of Batman to know that I have listened, that Bill Shorten has listened, and we are going to take everything you have said to Canberra.”
Achieving a 1.4 percent swing in Labor’s favour, Kearney led 52.2% to 47.8% late last night, with nearly 60 percent of the vote counted. The Greens rival candidate, Alex Bhathal congratulated Kearney in her concession speech, saying it had been “an honour” to contest the seat against her.
This wasn’t our night but I want to thank all of our supporters, particularly the hundreds of volunteers who put their heart and soul into our campaign. I’m so proud of your efforts. I extend my congratulations to Ged Kearney and wish her all the best in Canberra. #BatmanVotes pic.twitter.com/L2BX6FnLaw
— Alex Bhathal (@alexbhathal) March 17, 2018
She also pointed out that whatever the result, Batman would’ve been protected by a strong, progressive female member.
“I’ve always said regardless of the result we would have a strong woman member from a caring profession,” she said. Kearney likewise thanked Bhathal for a “hard-fought campaign.”
Kearney is the first woman ever elected to Batman in the electorate’s 112-year history. It’s a noteworthy win for Labor, after previous member, David Feeney was forced to resign earlier this year over citizenship issues. Although Labor has held the electorate for the past 80 years the Greens have been in hot pursuit for the past few years.
In 2016, Labor only managed to retain Batman with a margin of 1 percent with Liberal preferences.
Party supporters chanted ecstatically “Ged! Ged! Ged! Ged” when ABC’s election analyst Antony Green declared a likely Labor victory. Kearney took to Twitter shortly after, claiming her win belonged to Batman and all those who backed her in a tight race.
Batman, thank you.
This win belongs to you and all those who gave me their support.
I won’t let you down. #batmanvotes
— Ged Kearney (@gedkearney) March 17, 2018
As a former nurse and President of the Australian Council of Trade Unions, Kearney has a long history of fighting for better working conditions for Australians across the board. She’s a passionate and vocal advocate for social justice and gender equality and a fierce supporter for more funding of domestic violence shelters, employer-paid schemes and resources.
“I don’t just want to be a voice for your values – I want to make a real change as part of a Labor government,” her ALP profile reads.
Critically, Kearney’s victory brings the proportion of women in the federal Labor caucus to 48% while the Liberal Party remains at 22 percent.