Mike Kelly has conceded the seat of Eden-Monaro, citing leadership instability and media influence as partial causes of the loss.
Addressing the media in Queanbeyan, the Labor incumbent said he would be stepping aside in the bellwether seat, despite ongoing uncertainty over the final result.
To all my valued friends on twitter I'm sorry to have to say I will be conceding this morning. It's over. Thank you for your support.— Mike Kelly MP (@MikeKellyMP) September 12, 2013
“I felt it was important to end that uncertainty this morning, given that we feel the trend does not look good for us,” he said.
The concession comes almost one week after the federal vote, with the latest figures showing the former Labor member 633 votes behind his Liberal challenger Peter Hendy.
Despite taking full responsibility for losing the seat, Mr Kelly said the “leadership and instability stuff” had impacted on his chances.
“That issue began back in 2010,” he said.
“That was the mistake that gave us the difficulties from then after… I thought 2010 was a major mistake.”
Mr Kelly said the Coalition’s campaign and its “debt and deficit narrative” had increased anxiety within the electorate, while the media had also impacted negatively on Labor’s chances nationally.
“There’s no secret there on the war that was being waged by certain elements of the media,” he said,
“That makes it tough.”
Speaking earlier to Fairfax Media, Mr Kelly acknowledged that key postal votes had been trending against him as the count entered its sixth day
“I thought a little while back, we might be able to scrape home,” he said.
“But at the end of the day, on Saturday, the feeling was we were going to fall a bit short.”
Having held the seat since 2007, Mr Kelly said he was proud of what Labor achieved and was sure either “Bill or Albo” would do an outstanding job leading the party in Opposition.
“I would just like to urge them all to hold true to defend the clean energy policy,” he said.
“It’s important, it’s important for our children’s future … I would actually ask the Coalition to revisit their position on both the NBN and the clean energy package.”
Mr Kelly said said he hoped Rudd would serve a full term, stating “I don’t think we should be having a by-election right now”.
Meanwhile, he hasn’t ruled out running for the “knife edge” seat of Eden-Monaro again.
“Because the vote was so close and because of the personal support I had, I’ll keep all my options open,” he said.
Mr Kelly is yet to contact Mr Hendy, though has congratulated him publicly.
Mr Hendy has refused to claim victory in the seat, though conceded that his success was likely due to “disfunction of government”.
“It was concerns about having stable government in Canberra,” he told ABC Radio.