Rob Oakeshott recorded a massive swing against the Nationals in the seat of Cowper in 2016.
Rob Oakeshott recorded a massive swing against the Nationals in the seat of Cowper in 2016. David Barwell

Oakeshott considers running for Cowper again

ROB Oakeshott hasn't ruled out running again for the federal seat of Cowper, but for now he wants to give voters a bit of breathing room in the wake of the sitting member's retirement.

The Nationals Cowper MP Luke Hartsuyker officially announced his retirement today after weeks of speculation.

So The Advocate put the question to the former Member for Lyne about his political aspirations ahead of the 2019 Federal Election.

"I'm certainly considering it but I only found out this morning," Mr Oakeshott said.

"While there's been weeks of speculation the timing of his announcement was a surprise.

"But there's no rush, no election has been called but as soon as an election is called it will be very clear what my intentions are.

"It's an exciting time.

"It will give lots of people time to reflect - to consider if what they really want is wall to wall Nationals representation for generations - is that really the way forward?

"People need to change their vote if they want change; and if they are, that's when it will start to get exciting."

Mr Oakeshott ran as an Independent for the seat of Cowper against Mr Hartsuyker in 2016 in a short three-week campaign.

He recorded 45.44% of the vote in Cowper to Mr Hartsuyker's 54.56% after just a six week campaign prior to election day.

That saw a 9% swing against The Nationals.

"On all reviews it caused more problems than it fixed," Mr Oakeshott said.

"It was a ridiculously crazy idea to run such a short campaign but every day of an election campaign costs a lot of money.

"We worked out of lounge rooms and at my home.

"We tried to save every coin and decided to really focus on that last week but that strategy would be part of the conversations I will be having with key people in coming weeks."

While speculation as to his future intentions is ramping up he says "today is Luke's day, it's not about me."

The speculation is no doubt heightened by Mr Oakeshott's an interesting political past.

He was the federal member for Lyne (which used to take in Port Macquarie) for five years before his own retirement in 2013 and was instrumental in deciding the outcome of the hung Parliament after the 2010 election, making Julia Gillard the nation's first female Prime Minister.

"My decisions won't be based on the speculation of others but will be based on some long conversations with several key people," he said.

Mr Oakeshott says he appreciates all the words of encouragement and support he is receiving on social media.

"I am very flattered but...it might sound flippant...but if I was going to run it would be less about me and more about all of us.

"There's no point running to get more divisive politics.

"If there is a sense of a united purpose from a core group of locals than it will make for very exciting times."

Mr Oakeshott is continuing with his medical studies at the NSW University; raising his four children; and working with the United Nations Development Program assisting countries including Fiji and Vanuatu to develop functioning parliamentary structures.



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