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AEC makes decision on Gilmore re-count

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The Australian Electoral Commission has made a decision regarding the touted vote re-count for the Federal seat of Gilmore.

Australian Electoral Commission Director, Media & Digital Engagement Evan Ekin-Smyth, has confirmed that a recount will not be directed.

The request was considered carefully.

The counting process was undertaken in line with the Electoral Act and there was sufficient checking and re-checking of ballot papers during the scrutiny period (including the fresh scrutiny process).

The declaration of the poll for Gilmore is being reset with a time and location to be advised.

Image: Travis Winks

Constance promises a different approach in battle for Gilmore


Andrew Constance has won Liberal Party endorsement to stand against Labor's Fiona Phillips in Gilmore at the next Federal election.

And the former Bega MP and State Transport Minister said he was taking a different approach to campaigning, with a focus on unity and a bipartisan approach.

"The last thing people are going to want is a mouthful of politics," he said.

"They're not going to get it from me.

"This has to be an important campaign in so far as being positive, it's got to be about bipartisanship that we can build across the region to deliver great outcomes," Mr Constance said.

Speaking in Nowra, the former NSW Transport Minister said the community was fed up with politics and he was instead offering unity.

He stressed the election was not about him or Labor's Fiona Phillips, but about the community.

"What's important over the next few months is the way in which I prosecute the case to change politics in our region in a way in which we bring back the unity," Mr Constance said.

And after many years is State Parliament, he said he still had a passion to serve the community.

"I'm going to bring to this campaign an energy, a unity, a passion that we've never seen before, so that we continue to ensure that our region is well served nationally, and continues to become the envy of Australia," Mr Constance said.

"I'm running nationally because I believe in our community, and what we stand for, and the values we uphold.

"We have a big job ahead of us in terms of where our community is at and the issues that the community is facing.

Labor's Fiona Phillips won the seat at the last federal election, and was the only ALP candidate to win a seat from the Coalition.

She holds Gilmore by a margin of less than three per cent.

Image: Glenn Ellard

Federal Election update for Gilmore



The two candidate preferred vote for the seat of Gilmore is tightening.

The Australian Electoral Commission now has Andrew Constance at 50.05 percent and Fiona Phillips at 49.95.

That's a difference of just 104 votes.

Earlier today the AEC spotted a discrepancy in counting at the Gerringong booth where votes had been allocated to the wrong candidate.

gilmore may 24 2022 2

 Images: Australian Electoral Commission 

Four candidates nominate for Liberal preselection for the seat of Gilmore


Former NSW Transport Minister Andrew Constance might be a "great member for our team" according to Prime Minister Scott Morrison, but his bid for Liberal pre-selection for the Federal Seat of Gilmore won't be without a contest.

Four Liberal candidates, including high profile Shoalhaven businesswoman Jemma Tribe,  have nominated for preselection for the marginal seat which is currently held by Labor's Fiona Phillips.


Ms. Tribe, who's a former Shoalhaven City Councillor, resigned from the Liberal Party state executive to nominate for the Gilmore pre-selection which closed on Friday.


Former Christopher Payne staffer and Sanctuary Point resident Stephen Hayes is a confirmed nominee.

Mr. Hayes sits on several government boards and served in the Royal Australian Airforce for 29 years.


A fourth nominee is Shoalhaven Lawyer Paul Ell.

The 31-year-old is currently standing for election to Shoalhaven City Council in Ward Two.

Images: Facebook & Linkedin


Gilmore jobs survey to inform the federal government employment summit


The Albanese Government’s Jobs and Skills Summit will play an important role in addressing Australia’s jobs and skills challenges over coming years.

The summit will be held in Canberra on 1-2 September and will bring together people who can speak to the unique labour market experiences of women, First Nations Australians, Australians with a disability, Australians from diverse backgrounds, youth and older Australians.

To ensure local voices are heard at the summit, Member for Gilmore, Fiona Phillips MP has today launched the Gilmore Jobs and Skills Summit survey.

The survey will gather ideas from local businesses, community organisations and individuals about the key jobs challenges facing the South Coast for consideration at the summit.

“As your local MP, I want to hear ideas from across our community about how we can address the jobs and skills issues we are facing here on the South Coast,” Fiona Phillips said.

“The Jobs and Skills Summit will look at how we can build a bigger, better trained and more productive workforce, as well as improve wages and seize opportunities for more Australians.”

“I want to make sure local voices are heard in this process, so I am encouraging everyone with ideas to share to participate in Gilmore’s Jobs and Skills Summit Survey.”

“I will be providing this feedback directly to the Taskforce for consideration at the Summit,” Mrs Phillips announced.

The survey is now open and submissions close on 24 August 2022. The survey can be found here.     

Further information on the Jobs and Skills Summit is available here.

Image: Facebook

Gilmore Libs won't concede


Liberal Party sources are hoping outstanding postal votes could still swing the result of the election in Gilmore.

State Labor claimed the seat on Monday, and the PM Anthony Albanese declared a 77 seat majority in Federal Parliament.

Incumbent Labor MP Fiona Phillips has just a 301 vote lead over Andrew Constance, but the Liberal candidate has been favoured by most of the postal votes.

Outstanding votes must be submitted to any Australian Electoral Commission office before the close of business on Friday to be included in the count.


Labor claims Gilmore after an arm wrestle with Constance


Labor has claimed victory in the southern Illawarra seat of Gilmore giving Fiona Phillips a second term in Federal parliament.

The Prime Minister Anthony Albanese has congratulated Ms. Phillips on her return as the Gilmore MP.

The latest figures from the AEC has Phillips 242 votes ahead of Liberal opponent Andrew Constance with postal votes set to roll in until the end of the week.

Phillips said after a tense wait since polls closed a week and a half ago, she's comfortable claiming victory.

"Absolutely, look the trend is there and there's been a dramatic turnaround on Monday as I expected.

"It's a terrific win, I'm just really thankful to everybody that supported me to finally get there," she said.


Constance is yet to concede while Phillips said her comeback victory gained momentum at the start of the week.

"When the absentee votes started coming in on Monday there was a significant trend back toward me that continued yesterday as well.

"Not that many votes to go.

"It's a wonderful position to be in.

"I've had a lot scrutineers and people analysing the data and things like that as well.

"I just want to thank everybody in the community, it's been a very long campaign," Phillips said.

Labor believes with Gilmore safe it's now secured 77 seats in the new federal parliament giving the Albanese government an absolute majority.

Images: Fiona Phillips MP and AEC

Labor's funding pledge for Australia-first birthing centre in Nowra


A $22 million funding injection has been promised to help South Coast health service Waminda establish Australia's first Birthing on Country Centre of Excellence.

But the funding is contingent on Labor winning this year's federal election.

Waminda has been working for several years to establish the centre to better look after indigenous mothers and their babies as a way of closing the health gap between indigenous and non-indigenous people.

Shadow Minister for Indigenous Australians, Linda Burney, says Waminda's argument was compelling.

"I have seen the case put forward for the project, and it was just inarguable," she said.

"Waminda has been talking to me for many years about this aspiration, this dream.

"This is an absolute example of self determination, of governments saying 'You know what you need, you know what you want,' and it's about us trying to fulfil those aspirations," Ms Burney said.

The centre's cost has been put at $58 million over seven years, with the $22 million expected to cover the cost of a three-storey building hosting birthing suites and a range of allied services.

A site for the centre has yet to be chosen, however Waminda is looking to establish it around Nowra

In announcing the funding, Gilmore MP Fiona Phillips said the money would pay huge dividends in improved community health.

"We know that if we look after our indigenous people in all forms, all that wrap-around care, we know that we've got better health outcomes right throughout people's lives," she said.

"This birthing on Country Centre of Excellence will be here for generations to come, and will make a real difference for people."


Mrs Phillips called on the Coalition to match the funding commitment.

"It would be my sincere wish that they would match that because they should, because it's the right thing to do," she said.

Waminda midwife Melanie Briggs said the centre would incorporate a wide range of services and facilities.

"Birthing on Country is a holistic wellness model, so we go all the way from conception to end of life, and part of the Birthing on Country Centre of Excellence will have the wrap-around services to support the women and their babies," she said.

Facilities included three birthing rooms, family waiting areas, support services, Aboriginal practitioners, allied health and clinical rooms for things including midwifery and child and family health clinics, along with speech pathologists and occupational therapists.

The Birthing on Country Centre of Excellence is the first is Australia, and comes on the back of Waminda already making great progress in improving the health of pregnant indigenous women and their babies, including reducing the rate or premature deliveries and increasing birth weight.

It's expected to be used as a template for other centres all over Australia.

Images: Glenn Ellard

NDIS National Day of Action


People with disability, families, and workers from across the Illawarra and Shoalhaven will unite in Wollongong tomorrow, as part of a co-ordinated National Day of Action to protest explained individual plan cuts that are leaving people along the South Coast without critical supports.

The Illawarra and Shoalhaven Save our NDIS Rally will see people with disability and everyone in their circles of support coming together in the Wollongong Arts Precinct to tell their stories, and meet with Federal election candidates and members of State and local government to lobby for support to defend our NDIS.

And the Illawarra Disability Alliance is inviting everyone to join in between 10.30am and 11.15am


The Defend Our NDIS National Day of Action follows new economic modelling which shows the NDIS employs 180,000 people in NSW and contributes almost $17 billion to the NSW economy.

The new economic modelling shows the NDIS supports more than 12,000 jobs in the Illawarra and Shoalhaven, and contributes more than $1.1 billion to the local economy: 

In the key marginal seat of Gilmore, 4,162 people employed by the NDIS.

2,775 are directly employed and a further 1,387people indirectly employed.

The NDIS contributes $387,585,416 to the local economy in Gilmore.

Images: Pixabay Free Images 



New poll shows voters turning on Morrison over wages


More than three quarters of voters (78%) would be more likely to vote for a party that is committed to taking steps to ensure wages do not continue to fall behind the cost of living, and 58.7 per cent say they are dissatisfied with the Morrison Government’s performance on cost of living, according to a new poll conducted by RedBridge for the ACTU.

The poll shows that more than three quarters of voters (84%) believe that wages should keep pace with the cost of living, and more than half (52%) have seen their income go backwards in real terms.

The ACTU Secretary Sally McMannus is in the marginal seat of Gilmore two days out from this weekend's Federal Election speaking with Nowra residents .

Ms McMannus said, "With such a large majority of voters looking for action on wages growth, Scott Morrison’s refusal to support a $1 per hour increase for minimum wage workers in the current Annual Wage Review could have serious consequences for the coalition in this election.

"The average worker is projected to lose $4,000 in real terms this year thanks to record low wage growth and rising cost of living under Scott Morrison," she said.

ACTU Secretary said, "Working people have had enough of a government which refuses to fight for wage growth. People are going backwards thanks to the policies of this Government which are designed to keep wages low.

“Every Prime Minister has the power to generate wage growth – they can support increases in the Annual Wage Review, they can grant real pay rises for their own workforce which is one of the biggest in the country," she said.

The ACTU President said, "Instead, Scott Morrison has told the Annual Wage Review that keeping jobs like aged care and cleaning underpaid is important.

"He makes things worse by keeping caps in place that ensure his own employees can’t keep pace with the cost of living.

“Working people know that another three years of this Government will mean three more years waiting for wage growth that will never come," she said.

Image: Wikipedia


Pre polling for the 2022 federal election


The first votes of the 2022 federal election have been cast with almost a dozen early voting centres opening across the electorates of Cunningham, Whitlam and Gilmore.

The Australian Electoral Commission would prefer residents vote on May 21 but early voting is available if circumstances prevent that.

Australian Electoral Commissioner Tom Rogers said a number of COVID-19 safety measures will be in place at early voting centres and on election day.

"Australians have been living with COVID for more than two years now.

"For most people you're visiting the shops regularly, attending events or taking public transport – voting centres will havemore protections in place than most areas of society," he said.

Dedicated AEC hygiene officers will be regularly sanitising surfaces and pencils at all early voting centres.


Social distancing will be in force with equipment spaced out, markers and other signage providing guidance and queue controlling staff offering support.

Rogers conceded that socially distanced queuing, venue capacity limits and required sanitising arrangements will undoubtedly slow down the voting process.

"Nobody likes to wait, and we work hard on minimising queues for Australian voters as much as possible.

"The fact is that when you run an in-person process to the scale of a federal election where people effectively choose when and where they attend, and then you add COVID safety on top, you simply cannot prevent all queues," he said.

AEC staff will be wearing masks and other personal protective equipment as required.

Whitlam: Early voting centres are located at the Albion Park Centenary Hall and the Warilla Senior Citizens Centre.

Cunningham: Early voting centres are located at the Dapto Ribbonwood Centre, Warrawong Plaza, Corrimal District Library and Community Centre at the Salvation Army in Wollongong.

Gilmore: Early voting centres are located at the Joyce Wheatley Community Centre in Kiama, Nowra Uniting Church, Worrigee Shopping Village, Huskisson Community Centre and the Ulladulla Civic Centre.

Image: AEC & Peter Andrea 

Scheduled declaration cancelled


Today's scheduled declaration for the seat of Gilmore has been cancelled after Liberal Candidate Andrew  Constance lodged a formal request for a recount.

In a statement, Mr. Constance said his scrutineers have raised concerns in relation to certain aspects of the process, particularly the scrutiny of informal votes.

Given the close result, he believes there are strong grounds for a recount and he's submitted a request to the Australian Electoral Commissioner.

Mr. Constance won't be providing any further comment at this stage.

Image: Michael Verch Professional/Flickr

Soaring home prices add ten years to mortgages


A federal electorate in the Illawarra Shoalhaven has recorded the highest percentage house price rise of all electorates in Australia putting extreme pressure on housing affordability.

Data shows that house prices in the seat of Gilmore increased by 39.5% last year while rents climbed by 12.5% during the same period.

Nicholas Proud, CEO of PowerHousing Australia, a national peak representative body for social and affordable housing has called on Federal parliamentarians to prioritise the development of a national housing strategy and multi-billion budget investment to address the crisis.

"With the Federal election to be called in May, we have written to and calling for Federal parliamentarians to consider the mounting challenge whereby the price rise in just one year requires an additional decade of being in debt to buy the same house.

"The increased purchase price of a home in Gilmore means a typical household will have 10 years added to the duration of their loan at an average cost of $353,065 over the life of the loan.

"This puts home ownership outside of the reach of many households in the region where current rental supply is vastly outstripped by demand," Proud said.

PowerHousing members Housing Trust and Southern Cross Housing are on the frontline of the housing crisis in the region and both organisations are managing and building new affordable rental housing.


Housing Trust CEO, Michele Adair said the scale of the affordable rental housing crisis requires intervention from the Federal Government.

"The cost of housing is by far the single biggest factor in the cost of living," she said.

"For regional communities like Gilmore this is further compounded by the cost of petrol prices, bushfires, the pandemic and recent floods.

"Both Southern Cross and Housing Trust have several hundred homes in our development pipelines but these are not even close to meeting the demand for a safe affordable home on the South Coast.

"We need to see a serious commitment from the new government to tackle this issue," Adair said.

PowerHousing is seeking to ensure the next Federal Government addresses the rising affordability challenges by:

• Developing a national plan for housing;

• Building or funding additional social and affordable rental housing that ensures a net increase not just replacement of older stock;

• Incentivising private equity investment and invest with Community Housing providers to fund 30,000 homes over the next 5 years.


Gilmore Electorate Overview

Dwelling Value 2021 Median Dwelling value increase ranking: 1 out of 151 Electorates

2021 Median Dwelling value increase: 39.52%

2021 Median Dwelling value: $883,384

2020 Median Dwelling value: $633,165

Rents 2021 Median Dwelling rents increase ranking: 33 out of 151 Electorates

2021 Median Dwelling rents increase: 12.53%

2021 Median Dwelling rent value: $553 per week

Electorate Mean Employee Income (2022 Estimate) $55,315

(Source CoreLogic, PowerHousing Australia, ABS - March 2022)

Images: Travis Winks, Housing Trust and AEC