Tamara Smith declares a 'victory for the community'
UPDATE 12.30pm: TAMARA Smith has called the declaration of her win in Ballina this morning an "unprecedented victory for the Greens and the Northern Rivers community."
"It is the first time a Greens candidate has taken a seat off the National Party and the first time the Greens have held a regional lower house seat in Australia," Ms Smith said.
"I marked this election as a referendum on coal seam gas mining and the failure of the National Party to stand up for the North Coast.
"The election result in Ballina and swings against the Nationals across the region makes clear the community's expectation; the Government should act immediately to cancel all existing coal seam gas licences over our region.
MORE IN THIS STORY:
- Mixed emotions at result on social media
- Preferential results revealed
- Guise thanks supporters in Lismore
- Beavis concedes in Ballina
- Tamara Smith in Ballina and Thomas George in Lismore announced winners
- Suspense killing us as Electoral Commission computer glitches
- Initial report: Greens holding to hope for Lismore result
"The community values clean water and fertile farmland, and I will stand up for the Northern Rivers and against coal seam gas companies that threaten our natural assets.
"I would like to thank the community for their support during this campaign.
"For too long, Ballina has been regarded as a safe seat, which has meant our community has been taken for granted and local infrastructure neglected.
"The Greens are here to stay and I look forward to rolling up my sleeves as the new member for Ballina and starting to deliver for our community across a board range of health, education, planning and environmental issues.
"I congratulate all of the candidates in this election for their efforts in being part of our democratic process and putting forward their ideas.
"I would also like to acknowledge retiring Ballina MP Don Page. We may not agree on all matters, but I recognise his long service and the support he has had for many years within the local community.
"The Greens ran a strong grass-roots campaign with our supporters knocking on over 6,000 doors to listen to the concerns of local voters; and I look forward to that dialogue with the community continuing as the new member for Ballina."
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UPDATE 11.55am: THE announcements of results for Lismore and Ballina triggered a flurry of mixed emotions on social media as supporters of the winning candidates celebrated and opponents commiserated.
UPDATE 11.36am: THE numbers are now available for the Lismore and Ballina electorates, revealing just how fine the winning margins are.
In Ballina, Nationals candidate Kris Beavis's vote topped out at 46.88% after preferences, giving the Greens' Tamara Smith a final result of 21,528 votes or 53.12%. That puts Ms Smith on a thin margin of only 3.12%.
In Lismore, the result was even narrower.
Greens candidate Adam Guise's vote was exhausted at 47.14%, returning sitting MP Thomas George with 52.86% of the vote after preferences were distributed.
That leaves Mr George on a margin of only 2.86% - a massive drop on the 24.3% margin he enjoyed after the 2011 state election.
UPDATE 11.10am: LISMORE Greens candidate Adam Guise has thanked his supporters and issued a warning to re-elected Lismore MP Thomas George.
In a statement acknowledging his defeat in the State election, Mr Guise said the result ended a 10-month campaign that flowed "off the back of a three year gasfield free campaign".
"This has been an historically close election in what was a safe Nationals seat. This is a safe seat no more," Mr Guise said in the statement.
"Despite Mr George being re-elected on the narrowest of margins, the huge swing against the Nationals means Mr George must act for this community. The Greens have demonstrated what genuine representation should be and the community expects integrity and vision from their member.
"Mr George cannot be complacent in his role and must act immediately to ensure all gas licenses across the Northern Rivers are cancelled without compensation.
"Personally, the last three years has been an incredible journey, and I thank everyone from the bottom of my heart for their support and the tireless work they have put into the campaign. I am deeply humbled by the support and good will shown to me by people across the political spectrum.
"For a campaign run on a fraction of the budget of the old parties and without donations from coal seam gas companies, the Greens have shown what a grassroots, people-powered campaign can achieve.
"As this Liberal-National government is still backing coal seam gas with gas licences still covering this region, the Greens remain the only party who have acted to ban coal seam gas mining across the state.
" I will continue to advocate strongly for our diverse community, and fight to protect our land, water and climate from toxic coal seam gas mining.
"Despite the results, I encourage people to stay politically active and redouble our efforts to bring change to this electorate.
"I thank all the candidates for their respect throughout the campaign, and wish them well in their future endeavours."
UPDATE 10.35am: KRIS Beavis has conceded defeat in Ballina and congratulated Tamara Smith, who was in Sydney and was not in attendance at the vote count, on her victory in Ballina.
He said they'd run a strong campaign but said one factor in the defeat was an alliance of preferences against him.
He said coal seam gas was the dominant issue and it was clear this had eroded the nationals primary vote.
UPDATE 10.20am: THOMAS George has been returned as the Member for Lismore.
The final numbers on the result will be available in about an hour, but Lismore returning officer Sandi Mahoney has officially announced Mr George won a majority of the two-party-preferred vote in the seat.
One of Mr George's first reactions to the news was to quote former Federal Labor leader Paul Keating.
"This is the sweetest victory of all," Mr George said, harking back to Mr Keating's 1993 victory speech.
Mr George said he was humbled by the result and that he would represent the entire community - "regardless of how they voted".
UPDATE 10.17am: GREENS candidate Tamara Smith has secured a historic win in Ballina, securing a majority of the two-party-preferred vote.
UPDATE 10.10am: THE result in Ballina has been delayed thanks to technical problems with the Electoral Commission's computer.
UPDATE 9.50am: THE final result of the NSW election in Lismore and Ballina is only minutes away.
THE Greens will wait until the final count is in today before declaring any election wins or losses on the North Coast.
More than 90% of the ballot had been tallied yesterday, with Ballina candidate Tamara Smith pulling to about a 3000-vote lead ahead of the Nationals' Kris Beavis.
Adam Guise's battle for Lismore looked to have fallen short by about 1500 votes to the Nationals' long-serving MP Thomas George.
Whichever way the pendulum swings, Mr Guise's party-mate Jeremy Buckingham considers him a history-maker.
"Adam Guise is a hero of the Bentley Blockade and he will go down in history as one of the key players who defended the Northern Rivers from the scourge of coal seam gas," the upper house MP said.
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"He has given the National Party one god-almighty shake for their seat."
Mr Guise released a statement yesterday, saying he was waiting until the count was finalised before making any declarations.
"Regardless of who wins, this has been an incredible community victory off the back of an inspirational grassroots movement against coal seam gas and for a new way of doing politics," he said.
"Whoever is the member cannot be complacent in the role and must act immediately to ensure all gas licences across the Northern Rivers are cancelled without compensation."
Coming off a 10-month campaign with no staff on the payroll - just a small army of volunteers - Ms Smith said she was itching to make her parliamentary debut.
"We've worked our guts out and the community has given us a huge mandate to pursue the things we campaigned for," she said.
"I'm very keen to get started."
- APN NEWSDESK