THE battle for Ripon is finally over after Labor withdrew its challenge in the Court of Disputed Returns late this afternoon.
Liberal MP Louise Staley won the seat by 15 votes from Labor's Sarah De Santis at the November State Election, the closest margin in Victorian electoral history, however the result had been challenged by Labor.
The court battle was set for Monday but was adjourned until Tuesday, however a settlement was reached outside of court with Labor filing the withdrawal documents late Monday, which was accepted by the court and forwarded to Ms Staley at 4.30pm.
"The short story is that we have performed a detailed assessment of our scrutineers' notes and determined that in a recount, we would not fare well," Labor spokesman Kosmos Samaras said.
"So rather than risk going to a hearing and not faring well, we withdrew the petition."
Ms Staley told The Courier while she had always continued as business as usual, it was a weight off her mind.
"I'm very pleased it's all over," Ms Staley said. "Labor has in the end decided this is the best course of action to take and have withdrawn and agreed to pay the costs.
"In some respects it is a weight off the shoulders. It's always better to have certainty, rather than uncertainty."
Ms Staley said she had spoken to many constituents about the challenge, but had continued to work as the elected member and now shadow treasurer as she prepared for the handing down of the state budget later month.
"The treasurer himself has said the budget will be a budget of hard choice, he's said he watched the property market closely and how it affect big projects, he says it keeps him up at night," she said.
"The level of debt Victorians are subjected to keeps me awake at night, so we'll find out at the end of the month what it is. My thoughts are if it were going to be good news, why was it delayed?"
Have you signed up to The Courier's daily newsletter and breaking news emails? You can register below and make sure you are up to date with everything that's happening in Ballarat.