Member for Indi Cathy McGowan has confirmed she will not recontest her seat at the next federal election, making way for Voices for Indi selected successor Helen Haines.
Ms McGowan, 65, will retire from politics.
If Dr Haines is elected it will be the first time an independent has succeeded an independent in a federal seat.
“I have decided it’s the right time and she is the right person to receive the baton,” Ms McGowan said.
‘Even with this succession planning process underway, I remain as MP for Indi until the election is called. I will continue to give the job 100 per cent of my time, effort and energy.
“I’m proud of what we have achieved in six years. I will continue to be involved in my community. I will support, mentor and advise Helen through the campaign and when she becomes our representative in Canberra.”
Ms McGowan was first elected in 2013 after a grassroots orange campaign helped her defeat then-Liberal member Sophie Mirabella.
Dr Haines was named the next ‘orange’ independent on Saturday at a Voices for Indi forum in Benalla.
The 57-year-old was selected from a group of three candidates at the forum – including Ms McGowan’s sister Helen.
- 'Timing is right’: Cathy McGowan steps down, paving way for Dr Helen Haines to contest election
- WE SAY: Bridget McKenzie’s next move holds key in Indi
- Senator in spotlight after McGowan decides to quit
- Wangaratta doctor Helen Haines emerges as Cathy McGowan successor after Voices for Indi forum
- Cathy McGowan searching for successor to Indi seat, but in 'no hurry'
- Voices for Indi looking for the next Cathy McGowan to run as independent candidate
- OPINION: With Voices for Indi endorsing an "orange independent" it now makes sense for Cathy McGowan to retire as an MP
On Saturday, Ms McGowan – who was not involved in the selection process – said she would consider the outcome of the process and make an announcement on Monday.
Speculation was rife throughout 2018 that Ms McGowan would not run in the 2019 election.
Dr Haines volunteered in Ms McGowan campaigns and said the independent member’s rise to prominence prompted her political interest.
“I’m not a career politician, I’m absolutely a citizen of Indi, I’m a nurse, a midwife, and an academic.
“I’m someone whose involvement in politics had been a keen intellectual interest.
“When Cathy ran in 2013 though, I became really excited by local politics and I was part of the campaign supporting her.
“That really politicised me.”
MORE TO COME
Receive our daily newsletter straight to your inbox each morning from The Border Mail. Sign up here