June 13, 2019
Helen Haines MP – the newly-elected Independent Federal Member for Indi – will work with the cross-bench to encourage parliament and government to develop a cohesive response to the challenge of climate change that promotes unity rather than division.
Dr Haines said a collaborative approach to climate change can enable businesses and communities across the country to advance new opportunities, such as a roll-out of renewable energy projects, especially in rural and regional areas.
“I think action on climate change is one of two key priorities on which the crossbench will be quite united,” she said.
“The other is the establishment of a robust federal integrity commission.
“I look forward to meeting my fellow crossbenchers when the new parliament convenes on July 2 and I’m optimistic that Andrew Wilkie (Clark), Adam Bandt (Melbourne), Rebekha Sharkie (Mayo), Zali Steggall (Warringah) and I can build a shared approach on these issues.
“I’m optimistic that by working collaboratively with the government, the advantages of so many of the current and proposed projects we’ve put forward from the communities of Indi leading into the recent federal election campaign will be realised.”
Dr Haines, whose election was declared by Australian Electoral Commission Indi divisional returning officer Elaine Lack in Wangaratta on June 12, said her first day of work as the new Member had centred on staff appointments and setting up her main electorate office in Wangaratta. She will also maintain a second office in Wodonga.
“I will then set about making appointments with Ministers who will be delivering on the many election promises, amounting to expenditure of almost $120 million, made to Indi communities by the coalition during the election campaign,” she said.
“That’s a top-order priority. I’ve already started speaking with some of the mayors and local government chief executive officers across the electorate where these promises were made, and we’ll be working together to see those projects delivered on the ground in Indi.”
Dr Haines is the first Independent to succeed another in the 118-year history of Australia’s federal parliament.
The former nurse, midwife and rural health researcher achieved a two-candidate preferred margin of 2816 votes, or 51.39 per cent of the formal ballot, over the Liberal candidate.
“It is an extraordinary privilege to be the Member for Indi,” she said.
“I feel that I am one very fortunate person – one now who also understands the very great responsibility that this election brings.
“I’m so conscious that I’m standing on the shoulders of giants. There have been extraordinary members for Indi – it’s a Federation (1901) seat – and I pay particular tribute to my immediate predecessor, Cathy McGowan AO, the first Independent Member for Indi who served our communities so courageously and so honourably for the past six years.
“To all of the people of Indi I say that I will be the very best person that I can be. I know I have a lot to learn but I have a lot to give and you can be absolutely certain that I’ll be doing that with as much honour as I can. I thank you and look forward very much to being your Member for Indi for the next three years.”