Federal independent MP for the regional Victorian electorate of Indi, Cathy McGowan, will not contest the upcoming federal election.
Ms McGowan, who narrowly defeated former Liberal MP Sophie Mirabella in the 2013 federal election announcement her retirement today after her supporters voted to endorse successor.
Dr Helen Haines was selected by members of Voices for Indi, from a field of candidates, on the weekend.
“As you know, I have been thinking about succession planning for some time. On Saturday in Benalla, Helen won unanimous support and she is ready to begin work today,” Ms McGowan said.
“Voters want their interests considered ahead of party politics and personal ambition. Helen and I will be working closely together over the next few months to ensure Indi maintains strong voice in Canberra, particularly on issues that are unique to rural and regional Australia.
Dr Haines said the move into politics was daunting.
"It is overwhelming. I'm not a career politician," she said.
"I'm an absolutely average person in this community who is willing to put myself forward in a really vulnerable space and say, 'Yep, I'm willing to pitch in and I'm willing to do a job for my community'."
As speculation over Ms McGowans retirement mounted late last year, media reported Nationals Senator Bridget McKenzie was considering stepping down from the Senate to contest a spot in the House of Representatives.
Ms McKenzie has ruled out contesting for the seat of Mallee in western Victoria, which became available when Andrew Broad resigned last year.
In a move which many saw as preparations for a tilt at Indi, in October Ms McKenzie flagged she would move her electoral office from Bendigo into the Indi electorate and set up shop in Wodonga.