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Sophie Mirabella concedes Indi

Exit: Sophie Mirabella has conceded her regional Victorian seat to independent candidate Cathy McGowan, despite easily winning the popular vote.

Coalition’s former industry shadow minister Mirabella concedes defeat in Indi

General News logo18 Sep 2013

FORMER Coalition frontbencher and industry shadow minister Sophie Mirabella has conceded her federal seat of Indi.

Mrs Mirabella would have taken ministership of the federal industry portfolio – which includes overseeing government assistance to Australian car-makers and parts-makers – had she retained her regional Victorian seat.

However, as reported, a concerted grassroots campaign from conservative independent Cathy McGowan saw the two-party preferred result swing more than 9 per cent against the Coalition.

Figures show Ms McGowan secured 50.2 per cent of the vote after preferences, compared with 49.8 per cent for Mrs Mirabella, with about 95 per cent of the electoral roll counted.

Mrs Mirabella clinched 44.7 per cent of the primary vote, ahead of Ms McGowan on 31.2 per cent, but preference flows pushed Ms McGowan ahead, giving her victory by 389 votes.

In her concession speech today, Mrs Mirabella took full responsibility for the swing in the traditionally safe seat of Indi, and said she would not call for a recount.

“Despite the closeness of the count I have decided not to seek a recount,” she said. “I unreservedly accept the decision of the democratic process “Today I have contacted Cathy McGowan to congratulate her on her win in Indi and concede defeat.

“Representing the people of Indi in the federal parliament has been a high honour and a very special privilege.

“I want to thank the electors of Indi for their support over the last decade. They have enriched my life and that of my family and, together, we have achieved so much for our community.

“I also thank those who voted for the Liberal Party in this election and in the previous four elections in Indi.

“This election is over and the responsibility for the outcome is mine.

“Today is for Cathy McGowan. I wish her success in the service of the people of Indi.” Mrs Mirabella hinted that she would re-contest Indi in 2016, saying she would now “work with every ounce of my being to see this seat return to the Coalition, but that is for another day”.

As we reported this week, newly sworn-in prime minister Tony Abbott – officially commissioned by governor-general Quentin Bryce today – appointed former Howard government frontbencher Ian MacFarlane to the industry minister post in place of Mrs Mirabella.

Upon the announcement, Mr MacFarlane swiftly outlined the government’s support for the local industry but also re-iterated its comparatively hard-line stance on funding for Toyota, Holden, Ford and assorted suppliers.

The new government said early in its election campaign that it would strip $500 million out of the Automotive Transformation Scheme – a car industry support package that promised to provide almost $3 billion in staged funding until 2020.

Ms McGowan, a rural consultant, academic and Order of Australia recipient, is expected to make a statement Wednesday afternoon.

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