Labor’s Jodie Belyea Wins By-election in Federal Seat of Dunkley

Labor’s Jodie Belyea won the Dunkley by-election in Victoria on Saturday, with Liberal contender Nathan Conroy conceding defeat.

Prior to the announcement of results, the Liberal Party had harboured hopes of securing the seat in Melbourne’s southeastern region, viewing it as a potential catalyst for exerting pressure on the government in the forthcoming federal election.

Prime Minister Anthony Albanese wasted no time in hailing Belyea’s win on social media platform X, formerly known as Twitter.

“Congratulations to Jodie Belyea on her victory in the Dunkley by-election and winning the honour of serving her local community in federal parliament,” he tweeted.

“Jodie ran a strong and positive campaign and she’ll work hard every day as a champion for Dunkley in Canberra.”

The victory for Labor in the Dunkley by-election was promptly declared by ABC’s Antony Green shortly after 8:30 pm.

“We’re relatively confident that Jodie Belyea will clinch the seat,” Green said, highlighting a two-party preferred swing of approximately 3.8 percent.

The electorate, encompassing suburbs like Frankston, Carrum Downs, Langwarrin, and Sandhurst, headed to the polls on Saturday following the passing of Labor MP Peta Murphy due to breast cancer last year.

Belyea, founder of a local volunteer group offering health and wellbeing initiatives for vulnerable women, was approached by Murphy approximately a year ago to run for office.

“In December last year we lost our dear friend Peta Murphy,” Belyea said in a tribute to Murphy on Saturday night.

“Peta was a fierce advocate for our community… We miss her every day.”

While Dunkley was traditionally viewed as a safe Labor stronghold, boasting a 6.3 percent margin, political analysts suggest that both the Coalition and the Albanese Government closely monitored the by-election as a gauge of voter sentiment ahead of the federal election.

In an earlier interview with Weekend Today, Prime Minister Anthony Albanese acknowledged the challenges typically faced by the government in by-elections.

“The average swing in a by-election is against the government of 7.1 percent. We hold the seat by 6.3 percent, so you can do the maths,” Albanese remarked.

Reflecting on the untimely passing of Murphy and her legacy, Albanese expressed confidence in Belyea’s ability to continue advocating for the local community, emphasising her status as a local resident and mother rather than a career politician.

“She’s a local mum. She’s not a career politician. She’s got a mortgage, she understands this local community,” he said.

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