National

Liberals win marginal Braddon in Tasmania

By AAP Newswire

A beef farmer and former soldier has claimed the volatile northwest Tasmanian seat of Braddon for the Liberals.

First-time candidate Gavin Pearce had polled 54 of the two-party preferred vote with 84 per cent counted to oust Labor incumbent Labor's Justine Keay.

It was a swing of 5.8 per cent to the Liberal party.

"The message is clear, Braddon has spoken," he told cheering party faithful at a Burnie motel.

Mr Pearce, who campaigned heavily on a pledge to boost small businesses and the northwest's economy, claimed Labor was too focused on the south.

"Keeping jobs here, that's more important than AFL teams or MONA," he said, referencing two Labor campaign pledges.

"You can't pull it over the people of Braddon."

In a sign of the electorate's importance, Mr Peace was on Saturday morning flanked by Scott Morrison and Premier Will Hodgman at a school polling booth in Ulverstone.

He made a final pitch to voters, labelling the apple isle the 'turnaround state' under Liberal federal and state governments.

"I have never seen a leader like Scott Morrison," Mr Pearce said.

"He's intelligent, has heart, and the guts to make the tough decisions.

"I will follow him for the rest of my days."

Ms Keay won Braddon in 2016 on a slim margin of 1.7 per cent.

She won a by-election in July after being caught up in the dual citizenship saga but was helped across the line by preferences from independent and fishing advocate Craig Garland.

But that didn't happen this poll, with Mr Garland running for a Senate spot.

Braddon has gone Labor-Liberal-Labor-Liberal at the past four federal polls.

Bass is expected to also set to return to Liberal hands, with George Town mayor Bridget Archer enjoying a 6.7 per cent swing up against Labor's Ross Hart.