Indi’s play­ing field has lev­elled out

Mansfield Courier - - Opinions/People - BY STEVE KELLY [email protected] ne­me­

INDI’S youngest can­di­date La­bor’s Eric Kerr be­lieves the po­lit­i­cal play­ing field in Indi is as close as it’s ever been thanks to two terms of of­fice be­ing held by an in­de­pen­dent.

He has been joined in the Indi race by Lib­eral can­di­date 6WHYHQ 0DUWLQ ZKR ZDV RI¿ cially en­dorsed in De­cem­ber, and now Voices 4 Indi re­place­ment for Cathy McGowan, Dr He­len Haines.

In what had been a Lib­eral strong­hold seat prior to Cathy McGowan’s elec­tion in 2013, the sands have now shifted with more can­di­dates cre­at­ing an open con­test.

“It’s fair game now for other can­di­dates to have a crack and La­bor thinks Indi is a winnable seat and I hope peo­ple are look­ing for change by sup­port­ing a young per­son,” Mr Kerr said.

Mr Kerr’s op­ti­mism could have been met with a puz­zled look sev­eral years ago, as La­bor hasn’t held the seat of Indi since 1931, with either the for­mer Coun­try Party (Na­tion­als) or the Lib­eral Party shar­ing the dom­i­nance.

At the 2016 elec­tion Kerr polled 9.79 per cent of the pri­mary vote, how­ever, this could dra­mat­i­cally change if the swing in fed­eral polls, and out­comes of the 2018 Vic­to­rian elec­tion are any­thing to go by.

“La­bor is very likely to form gov­ern­ment and if I’m elected I will be look­ing to focus on the big ticket items to bet­ter ed­u­ca­tion, health, men­tal health, aged care, the cli­mate, en­vi­ron­ment and farm­ing,” he said.

It’s too early to tell what the out­come of this week’s an­nounce­ment that Ms McGowan will not con­test the 2019 fed­eral elec­tion, but her suc­ces­sor Dr He­len Haines, named as the new Voices 4 Indi can­di­date, is full of en­thu­si­asm to carry on the ‘orange com­mu­nity’ ap­proach to pol­i­tics.

Mr Martin wished Ms McGowan well say­ing he has a lot of re­spect for the pas­sion she put into the job.

“If any­thing the elec­tion of an in­de­pen­dent over the last two terms has put more focus on the Indi elec­torate,” he said.

The Lib­eral can­di­date be­gins his 50 towns in 50 days cam­paign trail on Fri­day, start­ing with vis­its to Myrtle­ford, Yarck and Be­nalla.

“I want to lis­ten to the com­mu­nity as the best an­swers for so­lu­tions come from the peo­ple af­fected by it,” he said.

“There are chal­lenges for Indi’s busi­ness com­mu­ni­ties and fam­i­lies re­gard­ing ac­cess to ser­vices and I want to fight for these peo­ple if elected.”

For­mer Na­tion­als Party can­di­date Marty Cor­boy could QRW FRQ¿UP ZKHWKHU KH ZLOO run for pre-se­lec­tion, howHYHU KH FRQ¿UPHG WKDW 7KH Na­tion­als party nom­i­na­tions close at the end of Jan­uary, with a can­di­date to be se­lected in mid-Fe­bru­ary.

“Best wishes to Cathy and it’s been a credit to her to KROG RI¿FH IRU WZR WHUPV EXW we’re hop­ing that now peo­ple can be pol­icy fo­cused and not per­son­al­ity fo­cused and I look for­ward to the elec­tion,” Mr Cor­boy said.

AD­VO­CATE FOR CHANGE: Australian La­bor Party can­di­date for Indi Eric Kerr will ad­vo­cate for change in Par­lia­ment and in his party to best rep­re­sent con­stituents if elected.

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