Cathy McGowan says she will not re­con­test Indi at next fed­eral elec­tion

The Guardian Australia - - News - Lisa Martin

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.

Pho­to­graph: Mick Tsikas/AAP

The in­de­pen­dent Indi MP, Cathy McGowan, has en­dorsed He­len Haines and an­nounced she will quit pol­i­tics at the next fed­eral elec­tion.

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