Sharkie Prevails

August 02nd, 2018
Sharkie Prevails
The by-election on the weekend concluded with the re-election of Rebekha Sharkie as the federal Member for Mayo.

In the two candidate preferred count Rebekha managed 57.6 per cent while main rival Georgina Downer polled 42.3 per cent.

The result was an improvement of 2.7 per cent in the two candidate preferred category for Rebekha, and an improvement of 9.6 per cent in first preference votes.

First preference votes for the Liberals decreased by 0.4 per cent but the biggest hit was for Labor with the percentage of votes dropping 7.4 per cent.

The Greens improved slightly and attracted almost 9 per cent of the primary vote.

Rebekha said now it is time for her to get back to work.

“It's so humbling and exciting that the community has given me the opportunity to go back to a job I really love,” she said.

“Thank you so much for giving me a second opportunity, it is an honour to have what I think of as the best job in the community.

“I will work even harder than before to prove to the community that I am the right person to represent them.”

The first step is to secure funding promises, Rebekha said.

“Election promises should never be made to get a candidate the job, they are made because the community deserves and needs the funding so the first thing to do will be to get the prime minister to commit to the funding promises.

“I did the same thing in 2016 and to his credit the prime minister acknowledged the promises in parliament.”

Then Rebekha will set her sights on issues brought up during the by-election among others.

“It's about getting back in the office to do the legislation work and start my own bills and motions or commissions such as about the ABC and transparency and staffing in aged care,” she said.

“I'm aiming to have my own bills written in the first week and introduced in the second week.”

Data showing how people voted from various polling places shows how the candidates fared across the electorate.

Rebekha’s highest vote count by town was in Longwood where she took 60 per cent of the primary vote and interestingly was also where Georgina had her lowest primary vote of 23 per cent.

Rebekha’s lowest vote count was in Kersbrook at 37 per cent, while Georgina’s highest vote was in Langhorne Creek at 50 per cent.

Georgina congratulated Rebekha while highlighting a trend across Australia.

“I congratulate Rebekha Sharkie for being re-elected as the Member for Mayo.

“It is clear that the voters in Mayo wanted Ms Sharkie to complete her parliamentary term and I respect their decision.

“This was a decision that has been replicated across Australia in all the by elections caused by the section 44 citizenship issue where all incumbents who re-contested their seats have been comfortably re-elected,” she said.

Despite failing to take the seat of Mayo, Georgina is determined to stay and plans on running as the Liberal candidate for the upcoming general election.

“I am passionate about Mayo ensuring our community and state has powerful representation in our nation’s parliament – that is why I will nominate to stand for Liberal Party pre selection to run again as the Liberal candidate for Mayo at the federal election.”

The night before the election, Georgina’s parents took to Facebook and posted in a private Hills group page announcing their support for their daughter.

Her mother Nicky was bombarded with negative responses her original post receiving over 700 comments.

Alexander, Georgina’s father, came to his wife’s defence but upset many when he called Rebekha’s voters hateful and described them as ‘new comers’.

“My mum and dad are like most parents; they love and support their children,” Georgina said.

She went on to condemn those who responded aggressively to her mother and father.

“In professing their support for my candidacy in Mayo on Facebook chat rooms they experienced crude online abuse at times.

“Having grown up in politics, I know that it can be a rough business at times and I will always welcome constructive and passionate discussion about the issues that people care about but I condemn all forms of cyber bullying in our society.

“I would encourage and expect other politicians and political candidates to do the same,” she said.

The impact of social media has been noticed by people in the lead up to the by-election, but Rebekha said it is not the determining factor.

“I ran a very positive social media campaign and right from the beginning it was about what I achieved with the community while I was a member,” Rebekha said.

“Social media is the new way to communicate and it is important but there's also all of the community forums and it's just about getting your message out there.”

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