All eyes will be on Indi over the next five months, following Cathy McGowan’s declaration she won’t seek a third term in parliament.
Speculation has swirled over the past year about whether the independent would recontest the seat she has held since 2013 but she put an end to that on Monday, insisting “the timing is right”.
In reality, the battle for Indi is going to resemble something more of a chess match with the next move from Senator Bridget McKenzie, who will open an electorate office in Wodonga within the next month, to be one of the most eagerly anticipated in the contest.
Senator McKenzie has thus far swatted away questions about making a run for Indi, saying “I’m in no hurry to move to the lower house … (and) I don’t see any signs of Cathy McGowan wanting to retire”.
Well, we now know Ms McGowan will retire and the incumbent Indi MP appeared to lay down a challenge to Senator McKenzie on Monday when she said: “We're waiting to see what the National Party do, but I hope they bring a high profile woman to the debate.”
Ms McGowan vowed to give people a choice when she ran against, and defeated, Sophie Mirabella six years ago and she has upheld her end of the bargain in the sense that Indi is on the political map.
She says Australia is listening to the North East and hopes to use a meeting with Scott Morrison on Tuesday to ensure the Prime Minister keeps a “promise he made in August last year for an Albury-Wodonga Regional City Deal”.
With the Liberals and Nationals on the nose across the country, Labor traditionally struggling in this part of the world and an independent having never succeeded an independent at federal level, Indi has all the ingredients to be one of the most fascinating seats when an election is called.
Ultimately, though, the voters of Indi, not Ms McGowan, will decide who the baton gets passed on to.
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