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    Horsham Rural City Council councillor Claudia Haenel.

Claudia Haenel launches bid for Mallee federal seat


A belief in need for independent representation has fuelled Horsham businesswoman Claudia Haenel’s declaration to stand for Mallee in next year’s Federal Election.

Ms Haenel, 53, who lives at St Helens Plains southeast of Horsham and is already a Horsham municipal councillor, said she had nominated ‘to get a new deal’ for the electorate.

She said socio-economic opportunities would blossom for the region as Australia emerged from the COVID-19 pandemic and there was a desire for an independent voice free of political-party doctrine and influence.

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“I like the fact that I can be an independent for the community and not beholden to any political parties or points of view,” she said.

“I believe this brings more bargaining chips for our community to the table –  greater leverage that comes with a seat becoming more marginal, so we can see more action and delivery for the region than we currently have.”

Ms Haenel said she wanted to be a voice for the region and if she won the seat would bank on her ‘moral compass’ when making tough decisions.

“In our democracy we should have diversity in voice. For a long time we’ve been a safe stronghold for the National Party. That means we’re too easily overlooked in Canberra. That has to change,” she said.

“I’m confident this seat is definitely winnable and I represent the winds of change.

“How often do we hear that nothing happens in our part of the world because we’re in one of the safest seats in Australia? Well, I’m here to try to change that.

“This isn’t about being critical of individuals who been in the seat in the past. I absolutely respect all of them – in fact some have provided me with inspiration for how they have tried and worked hard to do their bit. 

“Yet, while we have some wins, there is much more to be gained and I believe we can get more from Canberra if we get more marginal.

“My nomination is more about what I can bring to the table irrespective of what’s happened in the past.”


Ms Haenel is a third-generation Wimmera resident and has work background in media, health and agricultural sectors.

She has travelled throughout Australia, living in many capital cities, and spent two years in the United Kingdom while working in the media industry.

“I believe I provide a diversity in wealth of life experiences, having travelled abroad and worked in everything from the corporate world to shearing sheds,” she said.

“It is life experience that I bring to the table. I believe people are generally yearning for leaders who have real-life experiences behind them – not simply on a pre-determined path into politics where there is a risk of them not being or losing touch with the average person.”

Ms Haenel said regardless of a commitment she would make to her election campaign, she would remain focused on her role as a councillor with Horsham Rural City Council.

“I consider this a natural progression for me. As I’ve entered local government and tasted community issues it’s spurred me on to advocate and be a voice for my community and region – something that has always been part of my life,” she said.

“Now that I’ve announced my intentions I have to consolidate my election-support team and get out to meet people across Mallee to explore their needs, concerns and opportunities.

“I am a practical person who seeks out practical solutions. In agriculture, energy, transport and education, there are practical solutions out there that are a win-win for our economy, our people and our environment. 

“If we find ways for our homes, business and farms to become more self-sufficient by creating our own practical solutions, we can set ourselves up for employment opportunities and build sustainable regional centres for generations to come.”

Sitting Member for Mallee, the Nationals’ Anne Webster, welcomed Ms Haenel’s nomination.

“I respect and admire anyone who puts their hand up for this calling to serve their community and represent the diverse view of this very broad electorate,” she said.

The Federal Government has yet to announce a date for next year’s election. Many political commentators are predicting a May ballot.

RELATED: EDITORIAL: Pondering the value of a vote


The entire December 8, 2021 edition of The Weekly Advertiser is available online. READ IT HERE!