COOTAMUNDRA MP Katrina Hodgkinson’s detractors claim her shock resignation is “founded on guilt”.
Members of Gundagai’s Council-in-Exile have pounced in the wake of Ms Hodgkinson’s unexpected announcement on Monday, highlighting the council amalgamation saga as a likely catalyst.
Her decision – set to take effect at the end of August – will force the electorate into a by-election.
Former Gundagai mayor Abb McAlister said Ms Hodgkinson never truly stood up for the town's independence.
“Is it a decision made on guilt or did she really want to get out?” he asked.
“She always showed support for us in Gundagai but once she went to parliament, that support just disappeared.
“She had a chance coming up this Friday to cross the floor and support us but she’s basically already said that she wasn’t going to.”
The Nationals’ parliamentarian was not without support, with unlikely individuals rallying behind the 51-year-old’s decision.
Former Liberal senator and outspoken Junee resident Bill Heffernan her 18-and-a-half years in office was a testament to her work ethic.
“She’s getting out at a time where she can have another career,” he said.
“Serving the public and raising a family is a great challenge and she needs to be commended.”
Troy Whitford, a political expert at Charles Sturt University, believes Ms Hodgkinson’s retirement will be a make-or-break situation for The Nationals.
He said it will be interesting to see if the Shooters, Fishers and Farmers Party attempts to seize the seat.
“Given what happened in Orange, I imagine the Nats will approach this very carefully,” Mr Witford said.
“It may be a telltale sign on whether they have recovered from that experience - how well the Nats perform in Cootamundra.”
He claimed the best thing the party could do was find a local representative.