It may be Labor heartland but more than a few voters in the seat of Shortland weren't content to automatically vote for the red team on Saturday.
With 80 per cent of the vote counted on Sunday Labor had secured 54.1 per cent of the two-party preferred vote. The result represented a 5.3 per cent swing away from the party.
Having scored more than 50 per cent of the primary vote at the 2016 election, local member Pat Conroy was hoping to strengthen his grip on the East Lake Macquarie seat.
On Sunday afternoon Mr Conroy's primary vote was at 41.1 per cent, almost 10 per cent down on his previous result.
In contrast Liberal candidate Nell McGill secured 37.8 per cent of the vote with a 2.6 per cent swing towards the party.
The Greens Wylie Campbell secured 8 per cent of the vote representing a 1.5 per cent swing away from the Greens.
United Australia candidate Dani Rifai won 4.5 per cent of the vote representing a 4.5 per cent swing towards the party.
Other candidates collected 8.6 per cent of the vote, representing a swing of 4.4 per cent.
Mr Conroy put the result down to a larger field of candidates and higher informal vote than in previous elections.
"We had seven candidates rather than four. There's been an element of a protest vote to the minor parties and it's coming back in a disjointed way," he said.
"I think the other thing is the informal rate has gone up by two points as well so it's been a bit messier than 2016."
Stretching from Toukley to Charlestown, the electorate has been held by Labor since its inception in the late 1940s.
Mr Conroy said he was humbled to be selected to represent the electorate once again.
"It's an immense privilege to represent 150,000 people in the national parliament and it's something I enjoy greatly and it's a job I take with great seriousness," he said.
Mr Conroy held his election party at the Windale Bowling Club.
He was joined by former Shortland MPs Peter Morris and Jill Hall. State member Jodi Harrison was also in attendance.