INDI voters appear set to get the opportunity to decide whether they want a doctor in the house or not.
Helen Haines, who has a doctoral degree in medical science from Sweden and was the youngest matron at Chiltern Bush Nursing Hospital, has been endorsed by Voices for Indi for the next federal election.
The 57 year-old was heralded as the next “orange independent” by the political group after 200 supporters chose her ahead of two rivals at a forum at Benalla on Saturday.
Of course the original orange independent in Indi is incumbent MP Cathy McGowan, who was an observer at the forum which saw her sister, lawyer Helen McGowan, and Euroa teacher Angela Tough, compete with Dr Haines.
Ms McGowan has declined to confirm whether the success of Dr Haines will result in her retiring from parliament.
She has called a media conference for 10am on Monday where, alongside Dr Haines, she will outline her plans.
It would be logical for Ms McGowan to announce that she will stand down as member for Indi, given a process she endorsed has generated a well-credentialed candidate.
Having undergone a rigorous process, it would be tough on Dr Haines to be told that she would not be on the election ballots.
Presuming Dr Haines does contest the poll that means she will be chasing the unprecedented title of being a second successive independent MP for a federal seat.
Given she would enter the fray with the imprimatur of Ms McGowan voters would be entitled to ask whether Dr Haines would be a mirror of the incumbent or vastly different.
Dr Haines has been a volunteer on Ms McGowan’s campaigns, so it’s fair to suggest her views would align with the two-term MP’s on a number of matters.
That situation leads to the impression that being an orange independent is akin to being a Clayton’s party candidate.
The flipside is Voices for Indi’s contention that it is doing politics differently and it’s process was a reflection of that, with it giving an opportunity to those outside parties to test themselves.