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Mirabella bows out

first_imgVictorious Indi candidate Cathy McGowan was downing a cup of tea when a blocked number appeared on her mobile phone last week. It was a call that she’ll hardly forget – one that finally concluded the election arm-wrestle between the 59-year-old Independent and Indi’s incumbent Liberal MP Sophie Mirabella. Ms McGowan described her adversary as “charming” and “professional” during the brief conversation in which Mrs Mirabella conceded defeat. “She wished me well,” said Ms McGowan, who returned the compliment. So ended Sophie Mirabella’s 12-year hold on the Victorian rural seat, and with it, her parliamentary career for the foreseeable future. “This election is over and the responsibility for the outcome is mine,” she said in a statement to media – a dignified mea culpa for a politician rarely renowned for taking a step back. Reflecting on her time as Indi’s federal MP, Mrs Mirabella described it as “a high honour and a very special privilege”. In thanking her supporters over the last decade she said: “They have enriched my life and that of my family and, together, we have achieved so much for our community.” Lined up to take a place in Tony Abbott’s gender-equality challenged cabinet, Mrs Mirabella said that while the count was close, she declined a recount because she accepted “the decision of the democratic process”. Despite taking 44.72 per cent of the primary vote, ahead of Ms McGowan on 31.22 per cent, preferences pushed Ms McGowan over the winning line. Just. In the end her downfall came about by the smallest margins. The decision came as she trailed by 387 votes with some 1000 to be counted – Ms McGowan holding 50.22 per cent of the vote after preferences, compared with her own 49.78 per cent. Ultimately it was a massive two-party-preferred swing of more than 9 per cent that ousted her – all the more painful given a national average two-party swing to the Coalition of more than 3 per cent. Many suggest she had taken Indi’s voters once too often for granted, and that her electorate duties waned as she sought to impact the national stage. Magnanimous in defeat, Mrs Mirabella vowed to continue to fight the Liberals’ corner in her former electorate. “I will work with every ounce of my being to see this seat return to the Coalition but that is for another day,” she said. “I am just so grateful to everyone in the Liberal and National Parties who have supported my campaign, and to Tony Abbott, I repeat my overwhelming thanks for his selfless generosity and mentorship.” The Australian Industry Group paid tribute to the former shadow minister, saying that she had shown “consistent and strong engagement with industry”. “She demonstrated a special interest in the development of policy, particularly for the manufacturing sector, as well as policy development around anti-dumping,” AI Group Chief Executive Innes Willox told media. Facebook Twitter: @NeosKosmos Instagramlast_img read more