Running at his second consecutive election, independent candidate Andrew Bock secured more than five per cent of first preference votes.
With a swing of 3.61 per cent towards him compared to 2016, Mr Bock, 32, said the result ‘‘recognised the hard work I’ve done’’.
‘‘I’m a little disappointed to not at least get ahead of the UAP (United Australia Party) given their candidate wasn’t out and about in the community and the One Nation candidate didn’t attend the (candidates) forum. But I’ll accept (the voters) verdict,’’ he said.
‘‘I’m getting a lot of feedback that a lot of voters put me number two, so I’d need a higher first preference (vote) to capitalise on that.’’
The Euroa resident described the campaign as a ‘‘good, clean campaign’’ dominated by debate over water policy and the Murray-Darling Basin Plan issue.
The overall election result took many by surprise, with several opinion polls pointing to a Labor majority.
But Mr Bock pointed to the margin of error involved in these polls.
‘‘I’m hoping it’s a hung parliament because it gives certain sections of the community more of a voice and get better policy through. It’s like having two houses of review,’’ he said.
‘‘With the Coalition there has been a lot of internal bickering and I hope they get behind their elected prime minister and hopefully seeing through the whole term would be nice.’’
Mr Bock pointed to the achievements of independents Helen Haines who was poised to be elected in Indi as a successor to the retiring Cathy McGowan, and Winter Olympic medallist Zali Steggall who ended former Prime Minister Tony Abbott’s long-standing hold on the Sydney electorate of Waringah.