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Mirabella trails, postals count

Coalition frontbencher Sophie Mirabella has fallen behind her independent challenger in the Victorian seat of Indi and must rely on support from some 8200 postal votes to rescue her position.

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The heavily backed independent candidate, Cathy McGowan, is now leading her Liberal rival in preliminary counting by 1754 votes. Although it is a strong early lead, only 51 per cent of the vote had been counted by mid-afternoon on Monday and postal votes are expected to favour Ms Mirabella.

Ms Mirabella is a 12-year veteran of Federal Parliament and considered a tough political warrior, but Ms McGowan has strong local support.

Clive Palmer has moved into a commanding position in Fairfax, in Queensland, ahead by almost 3000 votes on the two-candidate-preferred vote.

While only 56 per cent of preferences have been counted in Fairfax, Mr Palmer is far enough ahead to call the seat a win for his fledgling party.


The Coalition has moved ahead in the NSW seats of Reid and Eden-Monaro, and the Brisbane seat of Petrie, and is on track to take all three from Labor.

Three other seats remain in doubt. McEwen, which includes growth areas on Melbourne's northern fringe, is on a knife-edge. Liberal candidate Donna Petrovich was just 66 votes behind Labor incumbent Rob Mitchell. A large number of postal votes, about 10,700, will be critical.

In Barton, in Sydney's south, Labor candidate Steve McMahon is ahead by 68 votes with 77 per cent of preferences counted.

Capricornia in central Queensland is also tight with Labor candidate Peter Freeleagus ahead by 141 votes on a two-candidate-preferred basis, with 20 per cent of preferences still to be allocated.