Wayne Jansson

Wayne Jansson

Chief reporter & photographer at No Fibs
Wayne Jansson is an Australian citizen journalist and photographer. He covered the seat of Indi during the 2013 federal election which saw Independent Cathy McGowan unseat Liberal Sophie Mirabella. His interests are politics and social justice.
Wayne Jansson
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Wayne Jansson

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By Wayne Jansson,

7 August, 2013

Now that the election has been called, it’s time to give my first seat update on Indi. The campaign period wasn’t even a day old when the first shock came through – independent candidate Alan Lappin pulled out after suffering a heart attack. Alan received 5.84{17ac88c265afb328fa89088ab635a2a63864fdefdd7caa0964376053e8ea14b3} of the primary vote in 2010 and was widely tipped to improve on that this year.

Voice for Indi candidate Cathy McGowan, with a bit of blind luck, held her campaign launch at The Cube in Wodonga on the same day the election was called. The Border Mail reported that more than 400 people attended. It is being reported locally that she supports the ALP’s NBN, however in our NoFibs Interview she stated that “neither of the parties, neither of the programs… seem to be able to deliver for the people living in Indi”.

Communications is one of the main platforms Cathy is running on. But there is very little information in her broadband policy about how she intends to solves the issues of connectivity for large areas of Indi, which for many will remain even with the NBN.

McGowan has also released her health policy, which throws up another inconsistency from our interview. The policy states that there are “problems getting in to see a GP and affording co-payments”, but when I asked her about a lack of health professionals during our interview she didn’t see it as an issue. I’m wondering why Cathy thinks people have to wait so long in some areas to see a GP if it’s not because of a lack of GPs, especially bulk-billing GPs. Hopefully I can get some clarity on these issues over the next few days.

Tony Windsor (@TonyWindsorMP) who famously gave Sophie Mirabella (@SMirabellaMP) the nasty prize on ABC’s Insiders, also indicated he’d like to help McGowan’s campaign in Indi. I emailed Tony Windsor on Tuesday asking if he plans to do so – as yet I’ve not had a reply.

According to her campaign launch highlights video, McGowan will be releasing policies soon on transport, education, aged care, agriculture and food.

Lee Luvara of Katters Australian Party has pulled out of the race, and a replacement is to be announced soon.

The Australian Sex Party is running Helma Aschenbrenner, who I’ll try to catch up with soon. Helma’s Facebook page is here.

The current member for Indi Sophie Mirabella has been notably absent at the recent candidates forums, and in general, so much so that The Border Mail ran a story and a poll about her absence. The poll asked: “Do you think Sophie Mirabella has a good enough excuse not to attend a Q&A with the other Indi candidates?” 

A whopping 92.4{17ac88c265afb328fa89088ab635a2a63864fdefdd7caa0964376053e8ea14b3} answered “No, if she wants to win votes she should be there to answer to voters.”

I have been told by one of her opponents that she has committed to attending the next forum. I discovered via Twitter yesterday that she was in Indi on 26th July with Malcolm Turnbull (@TurnbullMalcolm) discussing the Liberal plans for broadband. Perhaps Sophie is slowly waking up to the fact that Indi could be a sleeper. My bet is its no coincidence Malcolm was in town given one of  McGowan’s main platforms is broadband and mobile access.

The ALP’s Indi Campaign Manager tweets:

There’s no doubt any serious challenge to Sophie has a lot of ground to make up, but Indi could be in for the perfect storm. Here’s what I’m thinking:

  • There is widespread dissatisfaction with the current member.
  • Many lifelong conservative voters I’ve spoken to do not want to see Tony Abbott as prime minister.
  • Cathy McGowan is seen by many as having strong ties to the Nationals, a large block of Sophie’s vote.
  • Cathy has a well organised and resourced machine behind her.
  • With Alan Lappin out of the race,  there is close to another 6{17ac88c265afb328fa89088ab635a2a63864fdefdd7caa0964376053e8ea14b3} of the primary vote for candidates to grab and they will not be heading Mirabella’s way.
  • Katters Australian Party and Palmer United Party fielding candidates will further erode Mirabella’s lead over her rivals.
  • Communications is a major issue and everyone knows the Liberals’ broadband plan is a dog, especially for rural people.

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As I was about to file to Margo, Crikey posted Mirabella Panics as Indi Race Gets Closer with a leaked email.

The candidates final positions on preferences will be very interesting.

Indi-Panic

Only a fool would predict a Mirabella loss, especially this far out, but things seem to be getting very uncomfortable for her in Indi.

I’m still trying to get an interview with Sophie.

More Indi reports by Wayne