Haines has been announced as the preferred replacement for Cathy McGowan, who officially said she will not contest the upcoming Federal election this morning before introducing Haines to waiting media.
McGowan said today that after two terms, it’s the “right time” for her to step down, and Haines is the “right person to receive the baton.” She also said major parties are now taking notice of independents.
McGowan had previously flagged her intention to step down, but was waiting for a replacement to be announced by Voices for Indi, the grassroots community group that was instrumental in seeing McGowan oust Liberal Sophie Mirabella from the seat in 2013.
Helen Haines, a rural health researcher, nurse and midwife, was selected as the next candidate by 200 Voices for Indi volunteers over the weekend.
She told reporters that politics and the people of Indi need “intelligent women” and “rural women” and that she wants to help raise the level of debate.
“I have strength in my hands, passion in my heart and love for the community I live in,” she said.
There is speculation that Nationals deputy leader Bridget McKenzie might contest the seat in an attempt to move from the senate to the lower house.
The Liberal candidate for the seat is Steve Martin, while Labor has preselected Eric Kerr.
Today we undertook an extraordinary and interesting approach to create a community process to bring forward the next independent member for Indi. Congratulations to all involved #indivotes #doingpoliticsdifferently #BringItOn #Auspol pic.twitter.com/TVFuUeLwjT
— Voices for Indi (@voicesforindi) January 12, 2019