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Keep up to date with the campaign at oakeshott.com.au, or follow the movement using #Oakey4Cowper
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Why Oakeshott in 2016?
After the 43rd Parliament, I was exhausted. Getting a Senate and a House of Representatives to work together for a full term was hard work. Avoiding the chaos of a Double Dissolution was difficult, but we achieved it. With others, I risked my health and reputation in making this happen.
In 2013, I didn’t think I would ever want to see politics again. I was hoping the local MP’s for the area would continue building on the community work around Education and Health, and that they would continue to focus on the many disadvantaged communities of our region.
I was hopeful the Parliament would progress on areas of pre-election promised reform, such as comprehensive tax reform, and constitutional recognition of first Australia. Sadly, both promises have failed or ‘flat-lined’ over the past three years.
And I haven’t heard a peep out of the local MP’s about this failure to reform, which is all the more disappointing.
Over time, I realised I had more to give, and that politics was still in my blood. I believe the representation of the Mid-North Coast is currently poor, and I strongly believe I can do better for all of us. Because of this, I feel an obligation to stand, and to allow voters the choice to either agree or disagree. Ultimately, I am hoping this decision creates a referendum on representation in Cowper, and whether the community deserves better. I think we do.
Why Cowper not Lyne?
As the former member for Lyne for five years, I can also understand why some people may mistake my candidacy for the seats of Lyne or Cowper. Following the AEC redistribution, my home town of Port Macquarie has been moved into Cowper, and I felt it appropriate to stand in the seat I live in. I haven’t moved, my home hasn’t moved, the boundaries of electorates have.
You are leaving it pretty late, Rob, aren't you?
Elections campaigns cost money, and the longer the campaign, the more opportunities the big political parties, with their deep pockets, have to outspend Independents and grassroots campaigns. By announcing 5 weeks into an 8 week campaign, we've seen the Nationals make no promises to the electorate of Cowper. We'll see how quickly that changes now.
I have nominated as per the normal rules of the Australian Electoral Commission (AEC). In an unusually long ten week campaign, it is understandable why some people may think this is a ‘last-minute’ decision. It is not. Having been through six elections, announcements are normally made in line with the AEC rules.
Why didn't you help form an Abbott Government in 2010?
In the negotiations following the 2010 election, Tony Abbott was hesitant to put any offers on the table for Regional Australia. In the 2010 negotiation process, Tony Windsor and myself managed to secure funding for over 100 Regional Hospitals, we established equal pricing Australia-wide for access to the NBN and we worked toward equal access to Education for all Australians, no matter where they live or how much they earn. Unfortunately, Mr Abbott showed little interest in these common sense reforms until very late in the negotiation process. Bronwyn Bishop also confessed that an Abbott minority government would have gone back to a very early election after 6 months. Now that's chaos...
Observing what has happened in the past three years has helped me gain closure that we made the right decision.
You can join us
I need your help to get us across the line. If you like what I represent, my track record for the electorate and you think we need more independent voices in government, please contribute financially or by volunteering. Please visit oakeshott.com.au/sendhelp for more information on how you can help give Cowper an Independent voice.