This section is in response to questions raised directly from community members.
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What did Rob Oakeshott achieve? | Rob Oakeshott | Independent for Cowper


With the hard work of many within the community, and strong relationships with Governments at all levels, a great deal was achieved in the electorate over Rob’s 6 years as Federal MP, and 12 years as a State MP.


He successfully negotiated a $110 million expansion of the Port Macquarie Base Hospital.  He paved the way for Charles Sturt University to bring a campus to Port Macquarie, and also spearheaded the first full undergraduate Rural Medicine School in Port Macquarie delivered by the University of NSW.  He brought forward spending on the Pacific Highway by-passes and upgrades between Taree and Kempsey. He helped secure federal funds for key local Council projects, including local roads and bridges, sport facilities, and community infrastructure.


Beyond the boundaries of his own electorate, Rob was also central to the establishment of the Regional Development Fund that  continues to benefit rural and regional communities throughout Australia, as well as the $2 billion Regional Health and Hospital Fund, which helped with over 130 projects throughout Australia.


For a more detailed overview of all Rob’s achievements click here.

Does Rob understand the issues here? | Rob Oakeshott | Independent for Cowper


In the 2019 Federal Election there is not one single candidate who has represented the Coffs Harbour, Nambucca or Bellingen before. In fact, Rob is the only candidate with a proven track record representing the Mid North Coast.

Having lived in this region for many years, Rob is connected to a strong network of Coffs Coast and Hinterland locals, which was broadened by the many locals who supported his 2016 campaign.


Rob is reaching out further, having met with key community spokespeople including the President of the Coffs Chamber, local editors of newspapers, and various Councillors as well as attending local events including the Coffs By-Pass Action Group meetings, Bellingen Markets, or the Coffs Harbour Australia Day celebrations.


Local residents are providing a great deal of detailed advice, direction and vision so that he knows the issues at play, in particular the 22% youth unemployment in Coffs Harbour, the continued delays and cutbacks to the long overdue Coffs By-Pass, and the current and future infrastructure needs of the community (eg: NBN improvements in Bellingen, the airport precinct upgrade at Coffs).  Unpicking these legacy issues will take top priority once Rob is elected.

If the result is a majority government, how will an independent be able to have any influence without holding ‘balance of power’?


The major parties will always spin the message that only “party politics” can get things done, forever exposing the question why the major parties haven’t resolved many key local issues.


Politics is primarily about relationships and collaboration.  Rob knows both Scott Morrison and Bill Shorten as well as others on both sides of the political divide personally.  He is confident that he can work productively with either party.


As an independent, Rob’s big advantage is that he does not have to contend with internal party politics or back room deals, enabling him to stay focussed on delivering outcomes for our communities.

If the result is a ‘hung parliament’, would Rob support Labor or the Coalition? | Rob Oakeshott | Independent for Cowper


Rob’s preferred position is to work as a truly independent voice for his community on the floor of Parliament.  In the event that no party achieves a clear parliamentary majority, Rob is disinclined to offer any form of coalition to give one party the “numbers” needed to form government.


In the event that a minority government is formed, Rob’s goal will be to ensure Government stability, while best representing our region.

How do we know how Rob will behave once elected? | Rob Oakeshott | Independent for Cowper


Rob's contract with the community is to always act with a clear and true conscience, in the best interests of the community as a whole.



  • listens closely to the community,
  • lives in the community,
  • is connected across many sectors,
  • has always made himself available to meet individuals or groups across the whole of the electorate.


Rob believes strongly in a participatory democracy.  If elected, he will convene regular community catch ups across the electorate to gain feedback on Federal Government and local Mid North Coast concerns.  People in our communities will have many opportunities to meet face-to-face with Rob and raise their concerns.


There are no head offices, no party machines, just the Community, Rob and his team.


This makes for real and effective, community-based decision making that has lasting value for our region.

Is there really a chance that Rob will win a safe seat like Cowper? | Rob Oakeshott | Independent for Cowper


It is a huge challenge, but yes, most definitely.


​Our challenge is to convince those who have voted National Party all their lives to make the change this time. Even the most “rusted on” National voters are tired of Pacific Highway by-pass delays, 22% youth unemployment in Coffs, the lack of real help for regional small business, mining expansion at the cost of quality farming land, the poor handling of ecological disasters in our rivers, and the list goes on.


As one local farmer recently put it, “When I asked for help from the National Party, I quickly learnt my farm comes a long way behind party donors...”


It is clear there are many frustrated, angry and disappointed locals. If enough National Party voters take the opportunity to send their party a message, then the seat of Cowper will no longer be taken for granted.

What preference deals will Rob be making? | Rob Oakeshott | Independent for Cowper


Our system is a compulsory preferential system, requiring all boxes on the ballot box be numbered on election day.


Rob believes that preferences should be the decision of the voter, not the candidate.  So he has never done a “deal” on preferences as an independent candidate, and will not be doing so in this election


He does recognise that preferencing is an important part of the process and for some voters it’s just easier to have a How to Vote card.  Therefore, Rob will be developing a How To Vote card that he believes represents the best interests of our community and our country. This will not be decided until all candidates have nominated and the election has been called.  He will inform the community once it has been finalised.