INDI’s Labor candidate Robyn Walsh has denied reports Labor would be preferencing independent Cathy McGowan.
Ms McGowan says she won’t be giving preferences at all.
Ms Walsh said Labor — which polled 23,034 votes or 27.2 per cent in 2010 — had made no decision on how its preferences in Indi would fall, but that she personally was “very worried” about preferencing Ms McGowan.
She made the statements at yesterday’s declaration of the poll in Wangaratta, where a total of 11 candidates were revealed — the biggest field the electorate has ever seen.
Her comments fly in the face of reports yesterday that Labor was set to hand over preferences to Ms McGowan, in a bid to exploit perceived tensions between the Liberal Party and Nationals.
Ms Walsh said her local team would “strongly influence how the preferences would go” when presenting to ALP head office.
“Quite frankly, I think Cathy McGowan has not indicated which way she will vote on various issues,” she said.
“She says she will support ALP policy on things like Better Schools, the NBN and NDIS, which is wonderful.
“But I want to know her position on a whole multitude of other little issues.
“And I’m very worried as she’s not having preferences — if she’s not having preferences, how can I preference her?”
Labor drew position 7 on the Indi ballot paper.
“Obviously it would have been good to get No. 1, but you can’t expect that,” Ms Walsh said.
Ms McGowan, who drew No. 2 was “really pleased” with the draw.
“To me it’s another part of the campaign we’re running and gives us a really strong chance, but at the end of the day people are going to choose who they will vote for and the numbering won’t determine that,” she said.
She reiterated her vow not to have preferences, saying “I am asking for people’s first vote and then it’s up to them”.
Liberal Sophie Mirabella drew No. 4, but that didn’t concern her.
“I’ve never been No. 1 on the ticket — local voters are smart, they know how to vote and who to vote for,” she said.