Mayo matters

A week is a long time in politics.
Last week Nick Xenophon Team candidate Rebekha Sharkie was hoping to be in the position where the result in Mayo would come down to preference counting over several days.
The sheer decisiveness of her win on Saturday, with a 16% swing against sitting Liberal Member Jamie Briggs, stunned everyone – including the new MP.
Although it should be said that the result closely reflected a Newspoll conducted in the district by the Weekend Australian a few weeks before. This week the district has a new MP – its first woman, the first non-conservative since Federation and the first Member for Mayo to not be a member of the Liberal Party since the electorate was created in 1984.
Mr Briggs, who has held the seat since 2008 and won the 2013 election with more than 53% of the primary vote, had to endure a perfect storm at this election.
Nationally there was a swing against the Coalition of less than 4%.
At a State level there was the enormous popularity of SA Senator Nick Xenophon, an anxiousness about the future of SA’s manufacturing industry and a sense of betrayal by the Federal Government.
At a local level there is the growth in Mt Barker which has influenced the demographic profile of the electorate, a mood for change and a dissatisfaction with the personal and professional performance of Mr Briggs.
Australian Democrat candidate John Schumann might have been too far to the left to get over the line against Liberal MP Alexander Downer in the 1998 election.
Ms Sharkie, with her “centrist” NXT brand and Liberal Party associations, was the conservative alternative who was in the right place at the right time.
She also worked hard with a “grass roots” campaign, backed by appearances by Senator Xenophon.
It was enough to overcome millions of dollars in spending promises by the Coalition, backed by appearances from current and former PMs.
Mayo has gone out on a limb for the NXT candidate so she needs to perform.
Whatever the outcome of the election, Ms Sharkie has enormous expectations to fulfil and she can expect the Liberal Party to fight hard to win Mayo back to the fold.
But at the very least she has made Mayo matter.

1 Comment on "Mayo matters"

  1. Disappointed reader | July 6, 2016 at 7:32 pm |

    Considering the amount of ‘Briggs-bashing’ that went on in the Courier every week of the election campaign, and the amount of publicity and promotion of the NXT candidate, I used to think the local newspaper represented an un-biased political opinion and just reported local news and events, but I was wrong. There is the saying ‘If you can’t say something good about someone, don’t say it.’ The Courier certainly didn’t say many good things about Jamie Briggs during his campaign, despite the fact that he has been a good local MP, especially for my family – and we are ALP voters! I shall not be buying the Courier any more but will enjoy reading the free publication which manages to stay unbiased.

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