Indi MP Cathy McGowan
The gloves are off and the shadow boxing is finally over.
Any semblance of public niceties will be finished –the bell has officially rung on the race for Indi, now one of the nation’s most hotly contested electorates.
Thursday night’s Sky News visit to Wangaratta’s Pinsent Hotel will provide fascinating insights into the white-hot battle for the federal seat.
The event brings a whole new meaning to the “pub test” catchcry for Indi MP Cathy McGowan and Sophie Mirabella, as candidates debate in-front of the nation.
Voters and political aficionados will be locking their lips at the prospect ofthese fierce rivals, in close proximity, talking policy and the future of the electorate.
For Mrs Mirabella, recent form would suggest a full-frontal attack would be on the cards.Buoyed by strong support for her national sex offenders’ registry and staunch backing of the government’s Road Safety Remuneration Tribunal stance, Mrs Mirabella is likely to approach the event on the front foot.
Still aggrieved at losing the seat by 439votes, and reiterating the claim of media bias during a recent Fairfax Media interview, Mrs Mirabella will have a point to prove and won’t be shy about it.
Popularity for Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and the Coalition’s recent slump aside, it’s unlikely Ms McGowan, due to her “Indi way” of politics, nor Nationals’ Marty Corboy will likelytake aim.
It leaves Labor’s Eric Kerr and Greens’ Jenny O’Connor, a frequent sparring partner of Mrs Mirabella,to land damaging body blows towards the government.Ms McGowan, though, enters with the weight of an AEC electoral fraud claim well and truly vanquished.
Polling suggests she holds the seat by a wafer-thin margin, factoring in Nationals’ second preferences, but confidence is high in camp Cathy.Host Paul Murray has promised to be ruthless with waffle and lying–we can only hope this occurs and robust discussion prevails.
Some sections, keen on seeing the candidates lock horns, may be hoping for something more akin to a bar room brawl –ratherthan politics in the pub.Shock jock Alan Jones famously told former PM Tony Abbott, following aChinese free trade deal, “to win an election, you’ve got to pass the pub test”. It’s hard to argue thesame principle appliesin the race for Indi.
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