Federal election 2016: Independent candidate Rob Oakeshott respects ballot box decisions

Busy day: Independent candidate for Cowper Rob Oakeshott, with his daughter Olivia by his side, talks to campaign volunteer Terry Robinson on election day. Mr Oakeshott visited polling booths across the electorate.

Busy day: Independent candidate for Cowper Rob Oakeshott, with his daughter Olivia by his side, talks to campaign volunteer Terry Robinson on election day. Mr Oakeshott visited polling booths across the electorate.

INDEPENDENT candidate Rob Oakeshott says he respects the vote at the ballot box and the decision behind the vote.

Mr Oakeshott, who helped the Labor Party form a minority government in 2010, said in all likelihood The Nationals’ Luke Hartsuyker would retain the seat.

“I hope it’s a an opportunity for everyone in the community with a project to approach their local member in a marginal seat in all but a hung parliament,” he said.

“I would encourage everyone in the community to try to maximise the situation to the community’s benefit.

“The way the cards have fallen we are now a marginal seat in a marginal parliament.”

Mr Oakeshott said there was no excuse for not delivering on outcomes for the community.

A tight vote delivered no national result on election night and the wait continued on Sunday.

“This narrative around stability or chaos is dead,” Mr Oakeshott said.

“If this is stability, I will take chaos every day of the week.”

He said Cowper was a marginal seat in a really tight parliament, and from that, should be opportunities for big projects and to make the region one of the best in the country.

Mr Oakeshott said if the official result gave the Cowper win to The Nationals, he would happily congratulate the incumbent and see this as an opportunity for the community to engage with a local member in a marginal seat who is in a tight parliament.

The independent candidate will wait for the Australian Electoral Commission’s official result.

Mr Oakeshott, a medical student, said he would go back to being a father-of-four first, and he had contracts with the United Nations in Myanmar and Fiji.

“My dance card is nice and full,” he said.

Mr Oakeshott intends to lodge a complaint about some polling places running out of absentee paperwork.

“It’s the type of complaint I would make willingly with other candidates,” he said.

He said it was not a case of sour grapes but rather about the voters.

Seven candidates contested the seat of Cowper.

The first preference vote count to Sunday put Labor’s Damian Wood in third position with 12,160 votes, followed by The Greens’ Carol Vernon on 5,756, Christian Democratic Party candidate Wayne Lawrence on 3085, independent John Arkan had 2979 votes and Michael Gough from Citizens Electoral Council on 616.

Mr Wood said he was happy with his campaign and he had raised his profile.

“This is my first foray into politics and it was more of a learning curve,” he said.

“I will be back again in three years.”

This story Campaign chapter closes first appeared on Port Macquarie News.

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