An honest and candid Austin Evans says he’s daunted by the prospect of entering state Parliament, after the National’s candidate was ‘honoured’ to claim victory in the Murray state by-election on Monday afternoon.
The Nationals beat out Shooters Fishers and Farmers candidate Helen Dalton with 39 per cent of first preference votes to the Shooters’ 31 per cent.
Mr Evans said the result was humbling.
“I’m feeling honoured that people have put their trust in me and daunted by the challenge ahead. There’s a lot of work to be done,” he said.
The National Party suffered a 15 point swing against them, Mr Evans focusing his attention on the task at hand.
”From everything I’ve been told, by-elections means that you’re probably going to get a swing against the government. The issue is discerning how much of that is a normal swing,” he said.
“Either way we’ve got to get out there and try to fix people’s issues, deal with them, listen to them.”
This week he will fly out to Sydney for the parliamentary sitting week. While there, he will attend parliament and his first party room meeting.
If the result is formalised on Thursday morning, he will be formally sworn in. After that, it’s back to Murray to get to work.
On a two-party preferred basis, National’s candidate Austin Evans beat Mrs Dalton 53 per cent to 47 per cent.
Among the issues on his agenda are local health, reversing decisions around restrictions River Red Gum industry, water allocation and exemptions on the bullbar ban for rural people.
Mr Evans will continue to live in Coleambally, maintaining offices in Griffith and Deniliquin.
A longtime councillor for Murrumbidgee Shire, Mr Evans will take some of that experience to his next job.
“It’s certainly about listening to to people and trying to solve their issues,” he said.
The National Party have held the seat of Murray for 33 years.