ROB OAKESHOTT is standing for the seat of Cowper in the 2016 federal election.
The former independent member for Lyne, who retired in 2013, says his decision is borne from “disappointment and frustration” at the current state of play.
“I have been utterly disappointed with the state of local and national politics and genuinely believe I can do better,” Mr Oakeshott said.
I’ve watched how politics has played out and have been frustrated and disappointed.- Rob Oakeshott
“Now let’s see if the voters agree or disagree,” he said.
“In 2013 I risked my health and reputation to avoid the chaos of a double dissolution, but we achieved it.”
He was one of seven candidates officially named at the Cowper ballot draw in Kempsey on Friday.
Mr Oakeshott was drawn at No.5 on the ballot paper.
While a three-week campaign might seem a rush job to some, it doesn’t faze Mr Oakeshott.
“It’s not a last-minute decision by any stretch. I have been through six elections and this is quite normal,” he said.
Mr Oakeshott won the-then seat of Lyne, the traditionally Nationals-held seat at a 2008 byelection, after 12 years in NSW state politics.
Port Macquarie was moved into Cowper in the NSW electoral redistribution earlier this year.
And that, too, has been a motivational factor.
“The Australian Electoral Commission itself said that Cowper was a ‘less than optimal,” Mr Oakeshott said.
“I read that as saying the people were shafted – we were done over in the redistribution.”
The Nationals’ Luke Hartsuyker holds the seat with a margin of more than 13 per cent.
Fellow former crossbench MP Tony Windsor is attempting a return to Parliament next month, contesting Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce's seat of New England at the election.
While that has been portrayed as Joyce v Windsor philosophical battle, Mr Oakeshott insisted his renewed desire is based on the “big picture”.
“What has really driven me has been watching the politics unfold.
“It frustrates and saddens me that the politics is missing in action on the chronic disadvantage in our electorate’s households.
“Let’s face it, we are a disadvantaged electorate.”
The subject of disadvantage and need was part of a discussion Mr Oakeshott had with fellow independent candidate John Arkan on Thursday.
“Among the new challenges of the electorate will be how to actually get Coffs Harbour and Port Macquarie working together.
“We are already starting to think about ways it can happen for the benefit of both communities – and everyone else in the electorate,” Mr Oakeshott said.