Returning member for Mayo Rebekha Sharkie has hit out at the father of her Liberal opponent Georgina Downer for “offensive” comments he made about her Centre Alliance supporters.
Speaking on Sunday following a 58-42 victory in which she experienced a 9 per cent surge in her primary vote, Ms Sharkie took aim at comments made on social media by Alexander Downer on Friday night.
Ms Downer’s father, who is a previous member for Mayo and former Liberal leader, said in a Facebook post that Ms Sharkie’s supporters had brought “horrible hate to our district” before adding they “must all be new arrivals”.
On Saturday afternoon he took another swipe at Ms Sharkie, this time on Twitter, for comments he says she made to his younger daughter, Henrietta.
He said his family was “as South Australian as the River Torrens”, but Ms Sharkie said no individual should be entitled to a seat by family connection.
“I think the comment that we must be newcomers to the hills was pretty offensive for a lot of people,” Ms Sharkie said on Sunday.
“I just don’t buy into this whole hierarchy entitlement.
“This is about the people of Mayo. This was always about the people of Mayo and whether you’ve lived here for two years or whether you’ve lived here for 20 years, it’s about you caring and loving your community.”
Comments about entitlement and the Downer dynasty in Mayo appear to have rankled Mr Downer during his daughter’s campaign.
In another tweet, he seemed to suggest his family had been unfairly targeted and drew comparisons to Hannah Beazley, the daughter of former Labor leader Kim Beazley, who intends to run for her father’s seat of Swan in Western Australia.
Ms Beazley was not contesting a Super Saturday by-election.
Although Ms Sharkie increased her margin in the seat by more than 3.5 per cent against Ms Downer, Mr Downer said he expected his daughter would be successful at the next general election, likely to be held in 2019.
Ms Downer confirmed on Sunday that she would apply for preselection for the next general election.
Mayo by-election results