Bittersweet result

It was a bittersweet result for returning Labor MPs Lisa Chesters and Rob Mitchell as they celebrated comfortable wins in the federal seats of Bendigo and McEwen respectively while their party mourned an election loss.
Saturday’s win to the Liberal National Coalition means the local MPs will once again sit in opposition in the federal parliament.
Ms Chesters said that while it felt “a bit like Groundhog Day”, she was proud to have run a strong grassroots and positive campaign throughout the Bendigo electorate.
“We had some great projects that we put forward, particularly the Macedon Ranges Sports Precinct funding and the rail trail between Daylesford and Hanging Rock, and I’ll be calling on the prime minister and his new minister for regional development to adopt them and to fund them,” she said.
“Of course it’s going to be a bit harder but we’ve been here before.
“To get this seat to Labor on primary (votes) is a reflection of the great support that we have locally.
“I also want to thank our volunteers, they’re such an awesome machine in Woodend, Kyneton and Malmsbury, and in Castlemaine and Maldon.”
A pragmatic Rob Mitchell – entering his fourth term as Member for McEwen and his third seated in opposition – said the Australian people had had their say and got the government they wanted.
“I think (Labor) ran a very good, disciplined campaign,” he said.
“Maybe we didn’t stand up to the untruths enough, or didn’t explain our policies enough, but that’s life.
“My job now is to keep the government accountable and to do everything I can to get things done for our community.
“I think we’ve shown with what we’ve been able to deliver and what we’ve been able to do that I can work with the government to get things done.
“It will just take time, energy and effort.”
Labor had pledged $10 million to the Macedon Ranges Regional Sports Precinct and Mr Mitchell said he would be asking the government to also support the project.
“We really want to see that done, we think there’s genuine community desire for this and we think the government should commit the funding to it,” he said.

Rob Mitchell’s team celebrates.

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