Cathy McGowan says she will not recontest Indi at next federal election
The independent MP Cathy McGowan has confirmed she will bow out of federal politics at the next election, saying “it’s the right time” to go.
McGowan, 65, has held the northeast Victorian seat of Indi since 2013, when she secured a shock victory over the then Liberal frontbencher Sophie Mirabella by 439 votes.
Almost 200 people from McGowan’s orange army of supporters, Voices for Indi, have picked rural health researcher and midwife Helen Haines, 57, to be her successor as an independent candidate.
“I have decided it’s the right time and she is the right person to receive the baton,” McGowan said.
“She’s tough and she’s strong. I know she will take the battle to Canberra.”
Haines said she hopes to help lift the quality of political debate. “I receive this baton from Cathy with absolute strength in my hands and passion in my heart and love for the community that I’ve lived in for 30-plus years,” Haines told reporters in Wodonga.
“We need rural women, we need people from the communities to speak up and say ‘Canberra, we want better than what we’re seeing.’ ”
McGowan expects the main political parties will throw everything at Indi. “I say bring it on,” she said. McGowan said she was proud Indi had helped change the Australian political landscape.
“What we do in Indi, is we put the community first and we don’t play party politics. We do what is best for our community,” she said.
“Voters want their interests considered ahead of party politics and personal ambition.”
Haines nominated health care access, economic development, climate change as key issues.
McGowan will remain in parliament until the poll day and flagged she’ll meet prime minister Scott Morrison for talks on Tuesday.
“I will continue to give the job 100% of my time, effort and energy,” McGowan said. “It remains business as usual.”
She will support, mentor and advise Haines throughout the campaign and as an MP, if she wins the seat.
The Nationals’ deputy leader, Bridget McKenzie, has hinted she may contest the seat.
McKenzie recently moved her office from Bendigo to Wodonga and has refused to rule out a potential switch to the lower house.
The Liberals have preselected Steve Martin for Indi and Eric Kerr will run for Labor.
The independent Indi MP, Cathy McGowan, has endorsed Helen Haines and announced she will quit politics at the next federal election.