Jayson Hinder prepares to enter the ACT Parliament if and when Mary Porter resigns

Jayson Hinder prepares to enter the ACT Parliament if and when Mary Porter resigns

Meet the man whose political career could begin any day, but no one appears to know precisely when. No one that is, except Mary Porter, whose seat Mr Hinder is expected to take when and if she retires in the next six months.

Labor's Jayson Hinder outside the ACT Parliament building where he is in line to take over Mary Porter's seat if she resigns.

Labor's Jayson Hinder outside the ACT Parliament building where he is in line to take over Mary Porter's seat if she resigns.Credit:Graham Tidy

Not only is Jayson Hinder likely to be in Parliament before the next election, he is also contesting a seat that Labor must win if it is to retain government after October next year.

While party members speculate on whether Ms Porter will go in first months of the new year or stay until the end of her term, Mr Hinder is going about his day job as a suburban lawyer, and his weekend hobbies of motorcycling and playing rugby.


Not that he's ignoring the election, nor the possibility of a sudden political career. He already has a campaign manager and made a serious pitch to Labor preselectors last month, touting himself as the candidate who can appeal to a broad range of voters in what he says will be the toughest campaign in Labor's history. People thinking of voting Green or Liberal would trust him, he told preselectors.

"Labor can only win by selecting candidates who appeal to our traditional voters while also retaining those tempted to vote for the Greens," he said. "We must also offer conservative-minded voters candidates they can relate to, otherwise we risk them swinging to the Liberals."

A member of the party's right, Mr Hinder polled fifth among Labor candidates at the last election but is expected to win on a countback because the fourth-placed Glen McCrea is no longer in Canberra and Ms Porter's preferences stick largely in the Labor column.

The son of a draughtsman and art teacher, he was sent to boarding school in the Southern Highlands at seven when his father died at 43 of emphysema and his mother was forced to sell the family home and moved in as boarding manager at Canberra Girls Grammar.

After school, he became a mechanic, before long owning his own business, which he sold at 30 to become a lawyer. He plays rugby and is active in sports clubs and community groups, is chairman of the Bendigo Community Bank and active in the Labor hierarchy.

He has retained his love of cars and motorbikes, and lists a Ducati Monster, two BMWs, a 1973 Honda, and a Renault Alpine among his possessions.

Having just returned from a bike trip in Europe after playing in the winning team in the parliamentary rugby World Cup, Mr Hinder wants more people on motorbikes and scooters and would like to see rules changed to make it easier – perhaps lower registration fees for smaller motorbikes and allowing parking on the footpath.

A father of three grown children, Mr Hinder, 50, lives in Giralang, one of the Belconnen suburbs being shifted to the Gungahlin electorate.

Gungahlin is crucial to both major parties as the seat most likely to decide the election. But while Mr Hinder agrees, Gungahlin, "possibly is going to be the battle ground", he is not fazed about opposition to the tram in his home suburb of Giralang.

People might begin a conversation saying "it's a waste of money", but "by the end of the conversation they're happy with it". One of the convincing arguments is that something must be done about congestion on Northbourne Avenue.

"People say get more buses, all I can see is those buses sitting in the same 54-minute traffic jam," he said, referring to a projected travel time in 2020. "Unless you're going to put a purpose-built bus lane down the middle of Northbourne – and if that's the case, let's see some costings on that."

Kirsten Lawson is news director at The Canberra Times

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