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Katelin McInerney, Labor’s candidate for the seat of Kiama, called her opponent Wednesday to concede the election for state seat Kiama. This followed a previous day’s turnaround in the count, which commenced with a significant batch of ballot papers from one area in the south, which immediately tipped the progressive result. 

Independent candidate Gareth Ward then released a statement saying I want to thank the people of our community for putting their faith and trust in me for the fourth time. Thank you to the hundreds of people who worked on my campaign and backed me all the way.

He particularly acknowledged Katelin McInerney as an incredibly decent, dedicated and hardworking, adding she deserves every accolade for her efforts in this contest and she can be proud of the results she achieved on Election Day.

The Liberal candidate, an eleventh-hour nomination, performed as expected in the circumstances.

The big issue now for Gareth Ward, and the electors of Kiama, is the reported expressed intention of the new premier to support any motion to suspend the Kiama member from the parliament.

The deputy premier Prue Car had stated on ABC radio that the government would wait until the completion of the count. The ‘presumption of innocence’ was not a concern of the previous government.

It is stated, by the way, in article 14 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights to which Australia is a signatory.

In the seat of South Coast Liza Butler, Labor was victorious. Luke Sikora failed to prevail in the once safe, Liberal South Coast seat. Shelley Hancock, who was the local member for 20 years, has retired from politics.

To the north, in the seat of Shellharbour, Anna Watson has been returned for Labor. The new state government has recognised this area by appointing a Minister for the Illawarra and South. That appointment goes to a well-known local, Ryan Park, who has been re-elected to the seat of Keira.

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