Coalition deal Nats a winning hand

A state Coalition deal will stop Cr John Arkan running as a Liberal should he decide to stand for the Federal seat of Cowper.
A state Coalition deal will stop Cr John Arkan running as a Liberal should he decide to stand for the Federal seat of Cowper.

HE MAY have seen one of his future political aspirations scuppered but Coffs Harbour City Councillor John Arkan declares he's unperturbed.

If Cr Arkan ever decides on another run at Federal politics in late 2013, he'll likely have to stand as an Independent after the state Liberal and National Party bosses signed a coalition agreement minimising the number of three-cornered contests in NSW.

In the case of Cowper and Calare, both currently held by The Nationals, the deal has an extra twist with the Liberal Party banned from standing a candidate for two elections after the incumbents - Luke Hartsuyker and John Cobb respectively - decide to call it quits.

As an Independent in the 2010 Federal election, Cr Arkan drew a very respectable 9.9% vote to fill third spot.

It was no surprise when he declared himself a Liberal Party candidate for September's local government election and the move paid off handsomely.

He was photo-finished out of the top job as mayor after leading almost from the close of polling booths and received a strong percentage of votes for a second council term.

When asked if the Coalition treaty on three-corned contests had undermined any future plans, Cr Arkan expressed total nonchalance.

"Not at all, I'm not worried in the least," he said.

"If that is the decision, I'll get on with life.

"Maybe that will change in the future, maybe not.

"I'll just get on with doing the job I was elected to do as a local councillor.

"That's my priority."

While this particular Coalition agreement doesn't apply to state politics as yet, a stab at representing the seat of Coffs Harbour as a Liberal has been totally ruled out.

"No, I'm not interested in having a go at the state seat as Andrew (Fraser) is doing a good job with it right now," the councillor said firmly.

However, it's suddenly worth questioning whether Cr Arkan's rumoured aspirations have become collateral damage as the conservative parties throw everything at removing a certain Port Macquarie-based thorn in their sides.

NSW Nationals chairman Niall Blair said that the agreement allowed The Nationals a clear run at a number of key seats in the north of the state, including Lyne, currently held by independent Rob Oakeshott.

"The voters of Lyne now have a simple choice between Rob Oakeshott's Labor government and David Gillespie, who now has the solid backing of both the National and Liberal parties," he said.

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