Tony Abbott claims victory in Warringah, praises Baird

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Former prime minister Tony Abbott used his victory speech in his seat of Warringah on Sydney's North Shore to declare that "wouldn't it be nice to see a bit of democracy" inside the federal Liberal Party.

With 70 per cent of the vote counted, Mr Abbott had received 62 per cent of the vote on a two-party party preferred basis, with a negative swing of 3.7 per cent.

He addressed a crowd in Sydney and directed much of his speech at NSW Premier Mike Baird, who was in attendance.

"Mike, I've been thinking back and the last time that we had a Coalition government in Canberra and a Coalition government in Macquarie Street, except for the last couple of years, was back in the 1970s.

"And frankly, it is about that long since we've had any decent infrastructure built in this part of Sydney.

"But I was so pleased to see ... the new Northern Beaches Hospital up and running."

He also acknowledged funds in the state budget going towards the Mosman Military Road tunnel.

"I couldn't ask for a better friend and colleague than Mike Baird, an absolute gem of a man who is doing a fabulous job leading our state," Mr Abbott said.

He said Mr Baird has led the fight inside the NSW Liberal Party for democracy and "wouldn't it be nice to see a bit of democracy inside our party?"

"If Mike Baird wants it, if Malcolm Turnbull wants it, if John Howard wants it, if Barry O'Farrell wants it and if Tony Abbott wants it..."

Former Australian Idol presenter James Mathison made his political debut running as an independent against Mr Abbott.

Mr Mathison had received 12 per cent of the votes when 70 per cent had been counted.

The 38-year-old appealed to the youth vote, driving a social media campaign using the #TimesUpTony.



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