THE LIBERAL candidate for Bendigo has conceded defeat on a 'tough night' for his party.
Darin Schade never expected to win Bendigo but said it was disappointing the party has not regained momentum following the 2019 rout.
Back then, a swing to Labor saw the Bendigo electorate lose its marginal status and become a safe seat.
For the moment, Mr Schade is thanking volunteers and congratulating Labor's Lisa Chesters on winning Bendigo.
It is still too early to say which major party can form government, and whether they will need minor parties and independents.
This is Lisa Chesters' fourth election win but she has never been an elected member of a governing party.
"That is really going to hold Lisa's feet to the fire. She's had nine years where she could say 'I'm in opposition, it's all the Liberal Party's fault'," Mr Schade said.
"If Labor forms government, she will have three years to prove that she can do something for Bendigo."
Nationally, there will be a wider Liberal discussion about the party's identity, Mr Schade said.
"It's been a terrible night in terms of overall swings. I think the naval gazing and reassessing of our own identity ... is probably a good thing for us," he said.
That said, Mr Schade is leaving the door open to a new election tilt.
"That's a question that I am going to have to directly address with the party," Darin Schade said.
"But I have got a real passion for wanting to see change up here in Bendigo and this campaign has only made it stronger."
It is unclear whether Mr Schade would commit to a second tilt for national office or turn his attention to the state election slated for November.
"In regards to any state campaign, I think that Bendigo is very, very upset," he said, pointing to the Andrew government's pandemic policies.
"Just about everybody in the region would have a relative - a son, a daughter, a grandchild - that they had not been able to see over 18 months out of two years, because they were locked in Melbourne and you could not have movement.
"I think the backlash against that is going to be greater in the country than it will be in the city, and I'd like to try to help people be assured it won't happen again."
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