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Dr Helen Haines (Ind-Indi) – Maiden Speech

This is the maiden speech to the House of Representatives by Dr Helen Haines, the independent member for Indi, Victoria.

Haines won Indi at the May 18, 2019 elections. Replacing Cathy McGowan, she became the first independent to succeed another independent.

Listen to Haines (27m):

Watch Haines (28m):

Hansard transcript of maiden speech by Dr Helen Haines, Independent member for Indi.

The SPEAKER: Before I call the honourable member for Indi, I remind the House that this is the honourable member’s first speech and I ask the House to extend to her the usual courtesies.

Dr HAINES (Indi) (12:04): Mr Speaker, congratulations to you on your appointment as Speaker and thank you for your warm welcome to me in this place.

Today as I rise in this House to give my first speech, I acknowledge the Ngunawal and Ngambri peoples, who are the traditional custodians of the Canberra area, and pay respect to the elders, past and present, of all Australia’s Indigenous peoples. I especially acknowledge the traditional owners of the lands across my large electorate of Indi—lands of the Wavereoo, Dhudhuroa, Bpangerang and Taungurung peoples. I honour the resilience, wisdom, dignity, scientific knowledge, the stories and art of the world’s longest surviving culture. [Read more…]


Government’s Victory Assured But Still No Definite Results In Key Seats

10.00pm – The Turnbull government’s position improved in counting of House of Representatives seats today but an absolute majority of 76 seats is still not confirmed.

There is no change to the standing of the various parties tonight. The Coalition has 74 seats, the ALP 66, and Others 5.

The ALP remains ahead in all of the 5 remaining doubtful seats – Capricornia, Flynn, Herbert, Hindmarsh and Cowan. If these leads are maintained, the Coalition will finish with 74 seats, the ALP 71, and Others 5.

However, the ALP’s lead narrowed in 4 seats. In Capricornia, the ALP’s lead fell from 476 to 174. A total of 9,868 declaration votes remain to be counted, including 4,711 postals and 3,268 absentee votes. The LNP has been receiving 57.54% of postal votes, but no absentees have yet been counted. The ALP received 50.67% of absentees in the last election.

In Flynn, the ALP’s lead has shrunk from 646 to just 7. There are 7,734 declaration votes still to count, including 4,640 postals and 1,728 absentees. The LNP has been receiving 63.93% of postals. In 2013, the LNP also garnered 57.19% of absentees. At some point, Flynn is expected to move into the Coalition’s column. [Read more…]


Cathy McGowan: I Voted With Government 90% Of The Time But Opposed Devastating Cuts

Cathy McGowan, the independent member for Indi, has released a television advertisement in which she “sets the record straight” on her voting record in parliament.

McGowan says she voted with the government 90% of the time but opposed “devastating cuts” to higher education, social services and youth allowance. She describes herself as local, effective and “fiercely independent”.

McGowan

With the election just over a week away, it is intriguing that McGowan feels the need to point out her voting record in parliament. It indicates possible criticism in the electorate, or uneasiness over who she would support in the event of a hung parliament. There could be a sense that she is too close to the ALP and/or Greens. [Read more…]


27 Enrolment Irregularities In Indi Referred To Federal Police

The Australian Electoral Commission has referred allegations against 27 electors in the Victorian division of Indi to the Federal Police.

The irregularities involve suggestions that the electors falsely declared they were eligible to enrol in Indi at the 2013 federal election. Some of the electors are thought to have been students in Melbourne and some are believed to be former residents who had moved away.

Indi was won by Cathy McGowan. She defeated the sitting Liberal member, Sophie Mirabella, by 439 votes. McGowan’s insurgent campaign surprised the Liberal Party, which had represented Indi since 1977. Mirabella held the seat for 4 terms from 2001. The seat had been held by Liberal and Country/Nationals members since 1931. [Read more…]


Cathy McGowan (Ind – Indi) – First Speech

Cathy McGowan was first elected as the independent member for Indi at the 2013 federal election.

McGowan

She defeated the 4-term member Sophie Mirabella in what had always been a safe Liberal Party seat. [Read more…]


2013 Primary Vote Winners, Preference Vote Losers

There were 15 seats in the 2013 federal election where the primary vote leaders were defeated after the full distribution of preferences.

In 12 seats, all held by the ALP, the coalition candidate led on primary votes but the seat was won by the ALP after preferences. In 3 seats, coalition leads were overtaken by independent or third-party candidates.

The 15 seats were concentrated in Victoria (7), Queensland (5) and New South Wales (3).

Overall, 53 (35.3%) of the 150 House of Representatives electorates were decided on primary votes, whilst 97 (64.7%) required preference distribution to obtain a winner.

It is worth noting that 82 of the 97 electorates were won after preferences by the candidates who led the primary vote count. Even with preferences, a primary vote lead is difficult to overcome. [Read more…]


Sophie Mirabella Concedes Defeat In Indi; Palmer Falls Behind In Fairfax

Sophie Mirabella, the Liberal member for the Victorian electorate of Indi since 2001, has conceded defeat to the independent candidate, Cathy McGowan.

MirabellaMirabella’s concession came during the swearing-in of the Abbott government in which Mirabella expected to be a Cabinet minister.

The latest counting in Indi shows McGowan leading Mirabella by 395 votes, or 50.22% of the two-party-preferred vote. There are 414 declaration votes still to count.

In a gracious statement, Mirabella said she would not seek a recount. “I unreservedly accept the decision of the democratic process,” she said.

In other counting today, Clive Palmer has lost the lead in Fairfax. He now trails by 18 votes with 1,786 votes still to count. On the trend over the past week, Palmer is most likely to lose.

In the Victorian electorate of McEwen, the sitting ALP member, Rob Mitchell, is now 312 votes ahead, with 4,344 votes left to count. He is now expected to win, given the trend in recent days. [Read more…]


ALP Back In Lead In McEwen; McGowan And Palmer Leads Narrow

The ALP’s sitting member in the Victorian electorate of McEwen, Rob Mitchell, is back in the lead as counting continues in the rural seat north of Melbourne.

Counting over the weekend reversed Mitchell’s position. On Thursday night, the ALP was trailing by 396 votes. This narrowed to 153 on Friday night. Yesterday, the ALP was ahead by 97 votes. The Australian Electoral Commission reports that 9,197 envelopes containing absent, provisional, pre-poll and postal votes remain to be counted. Over half of these are pre-poll votes. Postal votes can still be accepted for the next couple of days.

In the Victorian country electorate of Indi, the independent candidate, Cathy McGowan, remains ahead of the sitting Liberal member, Sophie Mirabella, but the her lead is dwindling. McGowan was ahead by 1,100 votes on Thursday. This declined to 895 on Friday. She is now in front by 515 votes with 3,511 votes on hand that haven’t yet been counted.

In the rural Sunshine Coast electorate of Fairfax, Clive Palmer remains 502 votes ahead of the Liberal National Party candidate, Ted O’Brien. Like McGowan in Indi, Palmer was leading by 1,132 on Thursday. This slipped to 718 on Friday. Palmer continues to win only 37% of postal votes. There are 7,491 votes still uncounted.

Counting will continue over the coming days. The count is slowed because of the need to verify the eligibility of each elector who has cast a provisional, absentee or postal vote.

Attention will turn this week to the composition of the new Abbott government. The Prime Minister-elect is expected to announce his ministry today with a swearing-in to take place on Tuesday or Wednesday. Kevin Rudd remains caretaker prime minister until the new ministry is sworn.



Coalition Edging Towards 90 Seats As Election Counting Continues

It now appears likely that the Liberal-Nationals coalition will hold 90 seats in the House of Representatives, as Labor’s position deteriorates in several undecided electorates.

The ALP’s position in Barton, Eden-Monaro and McEwen has worsened over the past two days of counting. The ALP is behind by 643 votes in Barton, 591 votes in Eden-Monaro and 116 votes in McEwen.

However, in the Queensland seat of Capricornia, the ALP remains ahead and has stretched its lead to 268 votes. Capricornia and McEwen are now the only results in serious doubt.

In Reid, the ALP’s position has worsened since Monday and it is now 928 votes behind. It is 722 votes behind in Dobell. Both seats are now presumed to be Liberal gains.

The ALP began the election with 72 seats. It has lost 14 seats so far: Bass, Braddon, Lyons, Deakin, La Trobe, Corangamite, Hindmarsh, Petrie, Dobell, Robertson, Page, Lindsay, Banks and Reid. If it holds Capricornia but loses Barton, Eden-Monaro and McEwen it will finish up with 55 seats in the House of Representatives, or 36.66% of the total.

This would constitute the ALP’s 10th worst defeat in the 41 federal elections held since 1910. It did worse in terms of seats at the elections of 1934, 1919, 1996, 1966, 1925, 1977, 1917, 1975 and 1931.

The interest on the Coalition side now centres on Indi and Fairfax. Clive Palmer is now 1,411 votes ahead of his LNP rival in Fairfax. His lead has been quite stable since Monday and he now seems certain to win.

In Indi, the independent Cathy McGowan is 1,449 votes ahead and now seems assured of victory. Her lead was consolidated yesterday after the Australian Electoral Commission (AEC) corrected a clerical error which had seen 1000 votes incorrectly given to the Liberal incumbent, Sophie Mirabella.

Whilst the clerical error may seem like sloppy work on the part of the AEC, its rectification is in fact a tribute to the fail-safe measures the Commission has in place. By reconciling the number of ballot papers issued with those returned and monitoring Senate numbers, clerical errors are quickly identified.

The Coalition began with 73 seats. It has gained the 14 seats listed above, plus the formerly independent electorates of New England and Lyne. If we assume it has lost Fairfax and Indi, but won Barton, Eden-Monaro and McEwen, it will have 90 seats in the new House.

Sophie Mirabella will have the dubious distinction of being the only incumbent Coalition MP to be defeated. [Read more…]


Transition To Abbott Government Begins; Shorten, Albanese Vie For ALP Leadership As Recriminations Start; Mirabella Struggling In Indi; Palmer Takes Fairfax; Micro Parties Descend On Senate

The transition to the Abbott Coalition government has begun, following Saturday’s federal election.

Prime Minister Kevin Rudd has surrendered his commission to the Governor-General, Quentin Bryce. It is expected that Tony Abbott and his ministry will be sworn in early next week. Abbott arrived in Canberra today to hold meetings with his senior colleagues and to take briefings from the public service.

Abbott

In the Labor Party, moves appear to be afoot to elect a new leader by consensus. The outgoing Treasurer, Chris Bowen, announced he would not be a candidate for the position. It now appears that either Bill Shorten or Anthony Albanese will become leader. [Read more…]