As Patron Senator for Corangamite, I am delighted that the Australian Electoral Commission (AEC) has retained Corangamite as the name of the electorate.
Local residents, particularly aboriginal people, hold a very deep connection with our indigenous-named federation seat and that is why so many people including the Liberal Party objected to the name change.
I was very pleased to make an in-person submission to the AEC about my concerns including that the word “Tucker” could be graffitied on signage and other materials and bring the electoral process, including candidates for election, into disrepute.
At the last election, many of my signs were vandalised by my political opponents with crude and obscene words which is particularly an issue for female candidates.
My concerns do not, in any way, reflect on the highly respected aboriginal activist, Mrs Margaret Tucker.
Similar to my objections to re-naming the electorate “Cox” in the previous federal redistribution, I thank the AEC for recognising the practical challenges and barriers which arise during election campaigns in hard-fought marginal seats.
I welcome the decision to include Inverleigh in the final electoral boundaries of the electorate which will come into effect on election day, but regret that due to population growth so many other communities have been excluded from Corangamite.
For towns and regions which have moved into Wannon, they will be very well represented by the Liberal MP for Wannon, Dan Tehan.
That said, I raise serious concerns about the current member for Corangamite’s failure to represent all of her electorate. Since the draft boundaries were released, Ms Coker has barely been seen in places like Apollo Bay, Birregurra, Lorne, Winchelsea and Teesdale.
She has declined to appear at a number of community events including the opening of the Stribling Reserve netball pavilion in Lorne which has been funded, in part, by the Morrison Government.
While Ms Coker has developed a reputation for not being an effective MP even in Labor circles, I call on Ms Coker to continue to represent all of the Corangamite electorate which is the job she was elected to do.