It’s been 61 years in the making but the Liberal Party’s stronghold is finally gone from the seat of Wagga Wagga.
It’s also the first time the region has been governed by an elected independent candidate.
Doctor Joe McGirr being elected as the new Member for Wagga on Friday is truly a milestone for the region.
The residents/voters of the region sent a clear message to the government that they no longer wanted to be taken for granted.
Not only did they vote out the party that had represented them for six decades, but they took a chance on an independent candidate.
And it was by big margins, big swings.
Vote counting took longer than expected because people actually filled in preferences to make their vote matter.
And when the results came in this week, it was clear they favoured Dr McGirr, who had been a front-runner since the polling booths closed at 6pm on Saturday.
Dr McGirr will be the first to admit that he did not expect to win.
He merely wanted to give the competition a run for its money – and he certainly achieved that.
Much has been said about Dr McGirr’s ability to fully represent the region while not being associated with a major political party.
It does not mean Wagga will be ignored.
It just means that we, and Dr McGirr, will need to work hard.
And if the right person is in power, there’s nothing wrong with working hard to get what we want or need.
During a time when state and federal politics are in a tangle, it would not hurt for constituents to see their elected representatives to be going into bat for them.
After the ripples the city sent through parliament, it’s unlikely Wagga will be ignored, especially in the next six months, as major parties scramble to win back the seat.
It will be a telling time for Dr McGirr, who can merely occupy the seat until next year’s general election or show real effort to make change in a small amount of time.
We wish Dr McGirr the best of luck and will be interested as he goes into bat for the region in parliament from Tuesday.