Suzanna Sheed declared official winner in Shepparton

By Myles Peterson

Moments after being declared the re-elected Member for Shepparton Suzanna Sheed indicated she was in politics for the long haul and intends to run again in 2022.

Before a small crowd at the Victorian Electoral Commission’s Benalla Rd offices, Ms Sheed yesterday gave a short victory speech following the declaration.

‘‘Four years ago, I stood here as someone who had no intention of a career in politics, (but) I think for all of those who thought an independent couldn’t do anything the writing’s on the wall and the money’s in the bank,’’ she said of her first term in parliament.

A second term would allow Ms Sheed to continue her legacy and she was looking forward to representing the region again.

‘‘I’m really pleased to have the opportunity to take forward so many things that we’ve already achieved and to promote so many of the other things that need attending to in the Shepparton District.’’

In his official capacity as VEC electoral manager, Mick Bastian formally announced Ms Sheed as the winner of the strongly contested race.

‘‘Under the provisions of the Electoral Act 2002 I declare Suzanna Sheed duly elected as a member to the legislative assembly of the parliament of Victoria for the electoral district of Shepparton,’’ Mr Bastian said to the assemblage of campaign workers, supporters and VEC staff.

Only two candidates attendedthe announcement, Ms Sheed and runner-up, Liberal’s Cheryl Hammer.

‘‘Congratulations on being returned to represent the electorate of Shepparton,’’ Ms Hammer said to Ms Sheed, while thanking her own campaign team.

Listed by the number of first preference votes, the Green’s Nickee Freeman received 997, Shooter’s candidate Murray Willaton, 3314, Labor’s Bill Heath, 4769, Nationals’ Peter Schwarz, 5380, Ms Hammer, 10964 and Ms Sheed with 15851 votes.

On a two-candidate-preferred basis after preferences were allocated, Ms Sheed triumphed over Ms Hammer with 55.32 per cent of the vote to 44.68 per cent.

Ms Sheed thanked a long list of supporters, opponents and the VEC staff.

‘‘I regard the community as my party, and when it comes to election time there were so many volunteers who helped me across so many areas to whom I’m very grateful,’’ she said.

‘‘Cheryl you were a formidable candidate and a strong candidate for this community and I think you are to be congratulated. And to Peter and to Nickee and Bill and Murray, you are also to be congratulated.’’

Included in the acknowledgements were Ms Sheed’s family and husband, local paediatrician Peter Eastaugh.

Dr Eastaugh said his wife had his full support should she consider a third term.

‘‘We’re committed community people and until we are satisfied that our community is being recognised then we have to keep going,’’ Dr Eastaugh said.