If indeed Peter Hendy has lost the seat of Eden-Monaro, to which all indications point, he only has himself to blame.
Justified or not, the outcry against the “missing” sitting member began well before the election campaign, but came into stark relief over the past two months.
Missing Person posters, calls of “Peter Who?” through letters columns and social media – these weren’t just a campaign push but a public indictment of the past three years of Liberal representation in Eden-Monaro.
It must be said, as a media organisation we know of many instances where Dr Hendy was in the Bega Valley, spending money, meeting constituents and opening infrastructure projects over the past three years.
Perhaps he suffered more from a lack of public profile, or a PR team not up to speed on what makes a worthwhile and timely release to media.
Or were we being treated as if Eden-Monaro was a safe seat with a long reputation as a bellwether and Malcolm Turnbull on the rise nationally?
However, surely knowing a good proportion of his electorate questioned his commitment to them would be a trigger for concerted action.
Instead, we had our federal representative refuse requests to every single candidates forum held throughout Eden-Monaro.
These weren’t all platforms for specific candidates or policies. They were forums hosted by community groups and ratepayer associations.
Admittedly, a busy campaign schedule across one of the state’s largest electorates could mean attending these forums is tricky.
But not one?
On election night, Dr Hendy was referred to by his successor, Labor’s Mike Kelly, as a “unicorn” – something heard of but never seen.
Well now it’s up to Dr Kelly to make sure he doesn’t fall into the same mythical realm.
Voting certainly swung towards Labor in a big way across Eden-Monaro, but “Peter Who” still garnered 40.7 per cent of the first preference vote, compared to Dr Kelly’s 43 per cent.
And this is an electorate Labor lost only three years ago to a public sick and tired of party in-fighting
If Labor and Dr Kelly want to keep this seat, we have some simple suggestions.
Be seen. Be heard. Respect us and represent the Bega Valley – we matter.
Sign up for our newsletter to stay up to date.