Victory is sweet but winning with a primary vote of 65 per cent is sweeter – and today it was made official with the Electoral Commission declaring the result and Barnaby back in Parliament.
The win was historic. Despite there being 16 other candidates, Barnaby received the highest first preference swing at a by-election, won 107 of 108 polling booths, and restored the public's faith in the Coalition Government.
Hundreds of killer canaries gathered in Tamworth on Saturday night to celebrate the significant win – including one very special guest, Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull.
With Barnaby by his side, Malcolm introduced the re-elected Member for New England and joked that with the strong win the pair would be leading the Coalition Government once again.
“We’re getting the band back together.”
“[The win is] a demonstration of the strength of the Coalition and we have to say, as far as the Labor Party is concerned they are comfortably ahead of the informal vote,” Turnbull said.
Surrounded by a sea of yellow, Barnaby acknowledged the people of New England for their support and thanked locals and those from across the country who had joined the Barney Army.
“To every person who worked on a polling booth, to every person who stood out in the rain, to every person who came away from their homes.”
“For every person who voted for us and voted for us again. For every person who voted and voted for us for the first time, I just want to say how completely and utterly humbled I am by their support.”
“I take it almost as a sacred duty and I will do everything in my power to honour.”
Bill Shortens’ absence throughout the campaign was duly noted with the Labor Party receiving a 7.58 per cent swing against them on 2PP since the 2016 federal election.
The terrible result for the Labor Party reiterates statements echoed across the New England and other regional electorates: that Shorten has abandoned workers.
Barnaby’s re-election and a locally-focused campaign was favoured by voters and the result has sent a clear message to city-dwelling MPs and those who content the government has abandoned its conservative base.
“Clearly a sign that we are a strong Government. I’m really looking forward to going back to work with Malcolm,” Barnaby said.
Barnaby returned to Canberra on Monday to lead the Nationals’ final Party Room meeting of the year.