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Source: The Conversation (Au and NZ) – By Michelle Grattan, Professorial Fellow, University of Canberra

The Liberals have retained the Gold Coast seat of Fadden, with a small swing towards them, in a result that will be a relief to Opposition leader Peter Dutton.

The outcome indicates that cost of living issues outweighed the negatives around former member Stuart Robert, which Labor emphasiswed in its campaign.

The result will be some concern to Queensland state Labor because the Liberals made crime an issue in their campaign and also featured Premier Annastacia Palascszuk.

But the federal government immediately emphasised the swing to the Liberals was modest, playing down the result in a seat that was never expected by either side to change hands.

As of 9pm, the primary vote swing to the Liberals was about 4.6%, with a two-party swing of just over 2%. The average byelection swing against governments where the major parties contest is around 3.6%.

Before the result, Labor sought to set up a hurdle for the Liberals, saying they would need to get a swing of more than 4%.

The new member for Fadden is Cameron Caldwell, a prominent and long-serving local councillor. Dutton hailed the outcome as a “resounding result”, putting it down to cost of living and saying Australians were hurting.

“Labor’s economic experiment is failing Australians. Labor’s energy experiment is failing Australians”, Dutton told Liberal supporters.

The Agriculture minister, Murray Watt, a Queenslander , said it looked like people in Fadden had largely voted as they had in the past.

But he said Labor was “conscious cost of living issues […] haven’t gone away”.

The Fadden win follows Dutton’s debacle in the Aston byelection.

The Conversation

Michelle Grattan does not work for, consult, own shares in or receive funding from any company or organisation that would benefit from this article, and has disclosed no relevant affiliations beyond their academic appointment.

ref. The Liberals retain Fadden, with a small swing to them –