Kristina Keneally, in Fowler, concedes defeat in formerly safe Labor seat

Kristina Keneally has conceded defeat in the previously safe Labor seat of Fowler to Liberal-turned-independent Dai Le.

Keneally was parachuted into the western Sydney seat at the consternation of many locals.

With 75 per cent of the votes counted on Sunday night, Le had emerged with more than 52 per cent of the head-to-head vote and Keneally had suffered a swing of more than 18 per cent.

Kristina Keneally on the campaign hustings in Fairfield in the seat of Fowler.
Kristina Keneally on the campaign hustings in Fairfield in the seat of Fowler. (Nick Moir)

Just before 6pm, Keneally said “it seems that Labor will not claim victory in Fowler.”

“I congratulate Dai Le and wish her well,” she said, on Twitter.

“Thank you to the people who voted Labor and the volunteers on our campaign.

“And congratulations to Albo and Labor – a better future for Australia lies ahead.”

Le, a former Liberal candidate ran as an independent, had picked up 31 per cent of the primary vote but surged ahead of Labor on preferences.

Independent candidate Dai Le campaigning at St John Park in Fowler in Sydney. (Nick Moir)

Keneally’s 36 per cent primary vote was not enough as preferences from Liberal Courtney Nguyen, who picked up about 16 per cent of the primary vote, were expected to flow strongly to Le.

Fowler was regarded as a safe Labor seat and had never been represented by a non-Labor candidate.

The seat was left open after the retirement of MP Chris Hayes.

Keneally being parachuted in ruffled the feathers of locals, who were hoping for an Asian-Australian candidate in the heavily non-white seat.

The seat takes in the suburbs of Cabramatta, Fairfield, Liverpool and Guildford.

Keneally previously served the NSW Parliament in the eastern suburbs seat of Heffron.

She led Labor to defeat at the 2011 state election after taking over from Nathan Rees as premier earlier in the term

She unsuccessfully ran for federal Parliament in the seat of Bennelong a few years ago.

At present, she lives on the Northern Beaches, a long drive from Fowler.

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