Mirabella quits frontbench


Liberal frontbencher Sophie Mirabella has asked incoming prime minister Tony Abbott not to consider her in his cabinet as the vote count in her seat continues.

Ms Mirabella said there was continued speculation about the election outcome in the seat of Indi where she is 1447 votes behind independent candidate Cathy McGowan.

"The count in Indi continues to be close and it is now apparent that a clear result will not be known for many days," she said in a statement.

"In this set of circumstances, I have taken the opportunity to speak to Tony Abbott.

"As my own future in the parliament is not assured, I have asked that I not be considered for selection."

"This is about our country."

Mr Abbott was showing the same strength of character that she had known in him for many years, she said.

"Tony's transition to government is continuing at a strong and steady pace."

She asked not to be considered in his cabinet because she wanted the momentum to continue, Ms Mirabella said.

"It is now time that our new prime minister has absolute freedom to select his new front bench."

She said the coalition had men and women of great substance who would ably conduct themselves in cabinet.

Her re-election hopes were dealt a blow on Wednesday with the discovery of a pile of 1000 votes favouring her opponent.

Electoral officials said the votes came from a pre-poll voting centre in Wangaratta in north-east Victoria.

An Australian Electoral Commission spokesman said the error was discovered as a result of one of the checks and balances that take place during counting.