BY-ELECTION: Janetzki ahead but result could be days away

SUNDAY 4PM: LNP candidate David Janetzki remains in front of Independent candidate Di Thorley, after the Electoral Commission Queensland's check count today. 

An ECQ spokesman said votes from all 20 booths across the Toowoomba South electorate had been counted, including pre-poll, some postal and declared institutional votes. 

Mr Janetzki is now sitting at 12,673 votes which is 3076 votes ahead of Independent candidate Di Thorley's 9597.

An ECQ spokesman said the cross-count started this morning and was completed by 4pm.

The percentage of roll counted sits 81.36%. 

7.30AM: LNP candidate David Janetzki looks to be on track to win the Toowoomba South by-election after last night's formal counting.

With almost 80 per cent of votes counted, Mr David Janetzki has received 46.22% of first preference votes.

He is followed quite closely by independent candidate Di Thorley at 35.22%.

While Mr Janetzki is expected to do well from pre-poll and postal votes, Ms Thorley said with preference counting yet to take place, the battle was far from over.

"I wouldn't even try to pre-empt (the final result) because we're seeing, in some sites, is just huge swings in Family First and Katter's Australian Party where I would have thought all those preferences would have gone to the LNP but that's not so," she said last night.

"Obviously people didn't follow the how-to-vote cards and they went along and decided they were going to do what they wanted and they weren't going to be told how to do it, which is pretty cool."

"That's democracy working well," she laughed. 

A total of 27,679 votes have been counted. Today the Queensland Electoral Commission will check count the votes before party scrutineers.  

South Toowoomba by-election independent candidate Di Thorley (centre) with supporters Lesley Nichols and John Hasted at a post election gathering at Picnic Point Function Centre, Saturday, July 16, 2016.
South Toowoomba by-election independent candidate Di Thorley (centre) with supporters Lesley Nichols and John Hasted at a post election gathering at Picnic Point Function Centre, Saturday, July 16, 2016. Kevin Farmer

SATURDAY 10.30PM: Counting has stopped in the Toowoomba South by-election, with the LNP's David Janetzki almost 3000 votes ahead of Independent Di Thorley.

Mr Janetzki now sits at 12,377 and Ms Thorley 9431. 

Media were not allowed to be present during LNP's post election speeches at Gold Park. 

However LNP president Gary Spence released a statement that said the result would not be confirmed until preferences have been distributed. 

LNP candidate David Janetzki thanks Jeremy Wise and son Matty Wise for their support as LNP party members gather post South Toowoomba by-election at Gold Park.
LNP candidate David Janetzki thanks Jeremy Wise and son Matty Wise for their support as LNP party members gather post South Toowoomba by-election at Gold Park. Kevin Farmer

"It appears the second placed independent has secured roughly the normal Labor Party vote in Toowoomba South," he said. 

"As the count currently stands, we are confident that the LNP will retain the seat in the coming days. Our experienced scrutineers have indicated that the flow of preferences is likely to assist David."

Mr Spence said there were still thousands of postal votes to be counted and it would be some time before Toowoomba South has a final result.

"For the sake of the people of Toowoomba South, obviously we would like to have seen more certainty this evening, but regrettably the Electoral Commissioner decided not to distribute preferences tonight," he said. 

"We understand that this will not occur before Monday."

LNP party members gather post South Toowoomba by-election at Gold Park, Saturday, July 16, 2016.
LNP party members gather post South Toowoomba by-election at Gold Park, Saturday, July 16, 2016. Kevin Farmer

Ms Thorley and her family and supporters gathered at Picnic Point's function centre tonight. 

She said tonight's neck-to-neck race showed the electorate, a historically safe LNP seat, was open to new blood.

"Look I think (tonight's result so far) is a wonderful indictment on this community and how they are prepared to give someone new a go," she said. 

South Toowoomba by-election independent candidate Di Thorley with parents Michael and Joyce Pylybiw and children Willem Van den Broek and Vanessa Van den Broek at a post election gathering at Picnic Point's function centre.
South Toowoomba by-election independent candidate Di Thorley with parents Michael and Joyce Pylybiw and children Willem Van den Broek and Vanessa Van den Broek at a post election gathering at Picnic Point's function centre. Kevin Farmer

8.20PM: Independent Di Thorley said it was unlikely there would be a result in Toowoomba South tonight.

Ms Thorley said with only 2300 votes separating her and the LNP's David Janetzki, a winner may not be known until Tuesday or Wednesday next week.

"Look I think it will be very close, there is still a heap of pre-poll votes to go and of course what we're hearing is that preferences aren't always going the way parties want them to," she said. 

"It's going to come down to preferences (and) they're (voters) not always following the how-to-vote cards, which is interesting."

Almost 72% of the primary vote has been counted with the ECQ to not start counting preferences until Monday.

At the moment there has been a 12% swing away from the LNP.

8PM: Counting for the Toowoomba South by-election has hit the halfway mark with the LNP's David Janetzi a solid 7479 votes ahead of Independent Di Thorley's 6387.

Mr Janetzi now sits at 42.72% while Ms Thorley at 36.48%. 

Family First candidate Alexandra Todd sits at 1476 votes, and The Greens' Ken Gover 1028.

Independent Rob Berry weighs in at 323 votes. 

7.15PM: The LNP's David Janetzki has extended his lead over Independent Di Thorley with more than 9000 votes counted.

Mr Janetzki has 3681 votes to Ms Thorley's 3271. Currently there is a swing of about 14% away from the LNP.

Ms Thorley and Mr Janetzki have taken a commanding lead over the other four candidates.

So far 9186 votes have been counted.

Toowoomba South candidates Di Thorley and David Janetzki.
Toowoomba South candidates Di Thorley and David Janetzki. Kev Farmer (digitally altered)

6.50PM:  The LNP's David Janetzi now has a narrow lead over independent candidate Di Thorley in the battle for Toowoomba South.

Mr Janetzki has 1633 votes (41.43%) to Ms Thorley's 1434 (36.38%) followed by Family First's Alexandra Todd with 343 (8.7%).

About 4000 votes have been counted.

6.30PM: The LNP's David Janetzki and Indepedent Di Thorley are neck and neck early in the count for the Toowoomba South by-election.

Mr Janetzki and Ms Thorley are equal on 159 votes (or 38.8%).

Only 418 votes have been counted.

David Janetzki and Deputy Opposition Leader Deb Frecklington at the Harristown polling booth.
David Janetzki and Deputy Opposition Leader Deb Frecklington at the Harristown polling booth.

6PM: The polls have now closed in Toowoomba South with counting to get under way at 6.30pm.

The Electoral Commission of Queensland is warning that if the count is close, a result may not be known until preferences start to be counted tomorrow.

5PM: LNP candidate David Janetzki refuses to leave anything to chance, still greeting voters at the Harristown polling booth in steady rain and cold winds.

He has been joined by the man he is set to replace, incoming Federal Member for Groom John McVeigh, and Deputy Opposition Leader Deb Frecklington.

Mr Janetzki remains upbeat despite a tough campaign and a busy day in freezing conditions visiting polling booths across Toowoomba South.

"We're working hard right to the end," he said.

The polls close at 6pm with the first numbers expected by 7pm.

2.45pm: Toowoomba South voters are bracing harsh winds and freezing cold temperatures to have their say in today's by-election.

Independent candidate Di Thorley and supporters were fighting the wind at Glenvale State School, literally feeling like they were going to be blown away. 

Ms Thorley said she was honoured to see residents out and about.

"It is a terrible day for it but I'm pleased with the community response today - we just have to see what they decide tonight," she said.

Over at St Good Shepherd Lutheran Church, LNP candidate David Janetzki said the overall community enthusiasm on a day like today showcased the importance of the Toowoomba South electorate.

Independent Di Thorley with supporters including Cr Bill Cahill at Toowoomba South by-election day.
Independent Di Thorley with supporters including Cr Bill Cahill at Toowoomba South by-election day.

LIVE 11.30AM: There is solid support for Independent Di Thorley at polling booths across Toowoomba South today.

Ms Thorley was spotted flanked by Cr Bill Cahill and a group of supporters earlier this morning as she made her way across the electorate.

"So good to receive warm wishes out in the electorate on this freezing cold day," she posted on Facebook moments ago.

"Thank you to all the volunteers out and about. Greatly appreciate all of your support!"

10.30AM: David Janetzki has thanked his supporters who have braved cold and wet conditions to be out in force at polling booths across Toowoomba South.

Mr Janetzki, who is on track to reclaim the Queensland seat for the LNP, has been at Middle Ridge and Gabbinar to meet with his volunteers.

"First booth of the day is Middle Ridge and it's fantastic to have so many volunteers out and about even with the rainy weather!" he posted on his Facebook page at 9.30am.

Mr Janetzki last night wished his fellow candidates well and paid tribute to his "supporters on the ground'.

"We have fought a long, hard campaign," he said.

"We have done all we can to spread the word of the potential for fresh representation and a prosperous future for Toowoomba South."

David Janetzki and his supporters at the Middle Ridge polling booth for today's Toowoomba South by-election.
David Janetzki and his supporters at the Middle Ridge polling booth for today's Toowoomba South by-election.

9AM: The polls have opened and thousands of voters are braving the cold to decide if the LNP can maintain its grip on Toowoomba South.

David Janetzki is firm favourite to reclaim the seat for the LNP and continue the dominance the conservative parties have held since 1974.

But Mr Janetzki has been forced to fight for the win by Independent candidate Di Thorley, a former Toowoomba mayor and a "divisive" public figure, according to the LNP.

While internal polling suggested the two candidates were "neck and neck", bookmakers have the LNP a $1.33 favourite.

Alexandra Todd (Family First), Ken Elliot (Katter's Australian Party), Rob Berry (Independent) and Ken Gover (Greens) have also nominated.

Here are 12 places you can voted in Toowoomba South

FINAL SAY: 6 candidates of Toowoomba South

We will have updates throughout the day and live coverage of the results as they start coming in from 6pm. 

 

The crowds may be dire but the election spirit is high at St Luke's Hall this morning. Nelson Savanh, Eilish Clanchy and Stephanie Miles enthuse voters.
The crowds may be dire but the election spirit is high at St Luke's Hall this morning. Nelson Savanh, Eilish Clanchy and Stephanie Miles enthuse voters.

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