Member for Calare John Cobb has paid tribute to the people of the Central West after announcing his retirement from politics last Saturday. Mr Cobb, aged 66, was first elected into the federal parliament in 2001 and will officially retire three weeks before the next election, which is yet to be announced.
Mr Cobb, who has seen three boundary changes to his electorate since he became a member, said he would be sad to leave the world of politics especially in this part of the country; “Over the last 15 years, I have been honoured to represent the people of Western NSW, who I have come to
know very intimately. They are some of the toughest, most resilient and adaptable people I have had the pleasure of dealing with.”
Mr Cobb went on to express what qualities he hoped would be present in the new candidate, “Now it is time for somebody new who is young, vigorous and proven in business and community issues to represent Calare. A candidate young enough to hold the position for decades. A person who will listen to the voice of Calare, take shape and grow from that message and deliver what they need to in Canberra.”
In his 15 years overseeing Calare, Mr Cobb said a personal highlight was the way the Coalition dealt with the 10-year drought throughout the start of the 2000s. “In 2007 I got John Howard [then Prime Minister] and John Anderson [then Deputy Prime Minister] to a station just west of Forbes,” he said; “There was a big gathering there and Mr Howard was in high demand and I
remember saying to him, ‘there’s a couple here who want to talk to you, John, about
family and the mental side of drought. They lost a son and they lost a neighbour’ and
he said, ‘absolutely’ and I took him away and introduced them to him and I can still
see him walking under a tree with them, with his arm around both of them, and he gave them 15 minutes. That’s a long time for a Prime Minister, and after that he introduced mental health package for drought affected farmers.”
Mr Cobb was also happy with the aged care infrastructure he has been able to bring and hopes to see a new dam in the Central West NSW built before he retires. “ It has been an incredible opportunity and I’d like to thank Calare for their generosity, hospitality and patience, my family for their support and my National party colleagues for their hard work.”
Calare pre-selection was opened at the Lithgow meeting with nominations to close on 19 March and voting to take place on 30 April, in Bathurst. If it is a big thing to enter the Australian Federal Parliament, it is also a big thing to leave it and we wish John all the best with the future.