POLITICS

NXT Candidate Rebekha Sharkie Wins Mayo, Knocks Off Briggs

She is the first woman to hold the long-held Liberal seat.

02/07/2016 7:36 PM AEST | Updated 15/07/2016 12:56 PM AEST
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Nick Xenophon Team candidate Rebekha Sharkie.

Nick Xenophon Team candidate Rebekha Sharkie has taken the South Australian seat of Mayo off Liberal Jamie Briggs.

It is a historic moment not only because Sharkie is the first non-Liberal politician to win the seat but she is the first woman to ever be elected there.

Sharkie has pinched the seat from Jamie Briggs who resigned from the ministry in January after acting inappropriately towards a public servant in Hong Kong. Briggs has remained on the backbench and has been fighting to keep his position as the federal member for Mayo.

Sharkie worked as a Briggs staffer for about six months and is a former member of the Liberal party.

The electorate of Mayo is south of Adelaide, spanning from the Adelaide Hills down to the coastal towns of Victor Harbor and Port Elliot. It was named after Helen Mayo, a social activist and the first woman elected to an Australian University Council -- which only makes the victory all the more sweet.

Former Foreign Minister Alexander Downer was the first politician to represent the seat when it was established in the 80s. He kept hold of it until his resignation, sparking a by-election in 2008 which Briggs won.

The Huffington Post Australia visited South Australia last week to discover an electorate turning away from the Liberal party not because of the Briggs incident, but after enduring years of instability from the major parties at a federal level. You can read the entire piece here.

Sharkie, who is a mother of three, told The Huffington Post Australia she will put the electorate first in Canberra, aiming to deliver a 24-hour medical service in Mount Barker and addressing youth unemployment.

She is the first Nick Xenophon Team candidate to be elected.

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