The Liberal Party campaign failed to connect with average Australians leading to a general swing against the government, according to federal member for Canning Andrew Hastie.
Mr Hastie was re-elected to the seat on Saturday and while he suffered a five per cent swing against him on a two party preferred count he received more primary votes than last year’s by-election.
Although votes were still being counted yesterday many of his Liberal colleagues lost ground, with several losing their seats, in what has become a tight contest.
Mr Hastie said most of those swings had happened in regional or lower socio-economic electorates.
“They’re trying to pay a mortgage, they’re middle to low-income earners and I think what that suggests is that our campaign didn’t connect with people’s basic aspirations and that’s the take away for me,” he said.
“There’s a disconnect and a distrust of politicians and ultimately we represent the people – that’s what democracy is all about and we need to do a better job of understanding everyday Australians.”
Mr Hastie said the push towards to micro parties was also evidence of a disconnect between voters and major political parties.
“I did get the sense that people saw the Coalition, the Labor Party and the Greens all residing in the same political postcode so the multiplicity of micro parties that popped up provided them an avenue with a protest vote or something different and more distinct,” he said.
Mr Hastie attributed his success to a ‘grass roots’ campaign that focused on local issues.
“I went out of my way to campaign very hard on local issues and just talk to people whether it be at their homes, their businesses or at the train station and find out what they really care about,” he said.
“I think the national campaign was abstract to people, so I tried to put some flesh and blood on some of the core principles we have as the Coalition.”
He now wanted to focus on pursuing the $2 million to the Peel Youth Medical Service health hub, which the Coalition committed to as part of the campaign.
He would also lobby for infrastructure funding in the electorate.
Mr Hastie said while votes were still being counted it was too close to confirm whether the Coalition could form majority government or if deals would need to be made with independent MPs to form government.
He said any deals should first be endorsed by the party room.
Mr Hastie received 56.2 per cent of the vote after preferences beating Labor’s Barry Winmar who received 43.8 per cent.
The seat was also contested by the Greens’ Aeron Blundell-Camden, Nationals’ Jason Turner and Australian Christians candidate Janine Vander Ven.