Joan ‘no threat’ to Nats
THE National Party is playing down a decision by former Tweed mayor Joan van Lieshout to run for Federal Parliament as a Liberal Party candidate by suggesting she has little chance.
Tweed Nationals chairman Murray Lees says “if she were to run, I think she would have a modest impact on the race”.
Cr van Lieshout this week said she was nominating as a Liberal candidate for the seat of Richmond, challenging the sitting Labor Member and Minister for Ageing Justine Elliot.
Her announcement came as the National Party continues to search for a candidate.
It once considered the seat, previously held by party stalwarts including former deputy prime minister Doug Anthony and his son Larry, to be one of its safest electorates.
That was until Neville Newell defeated the Nationals’ Charles Blunt in 1990. Mrs Elliot regained the seat from Larry Anthony in 2004.
However, Mr Lees said the Liberals would co-operate with Cr van Lieshout in any “three-cornered contest”.
“We could certainly work with her – I quite like the lady,” he said.
“But she’s had a difficult first year in public life and if the Tweed Daily News poll (last week) is anything to go by, she’s got a lot of work to do.”
Mr Lees said he did not think Cr van Lieshout’s potential candidacy would have much of an impact on the National Party’s ability to fundraise for its own candidate’s campaign.
“We may lose a few of the Liberal Party members who manned the booths for Geoff Provest (National Party MP for the state seat of Tweed) and Sue Page (the Nationals’ unsuccessful challenge to Mrs Elliot in 2007), but grassroots Nationals always show out in force on election day,” he said.
“The best way for the Liberals to get Malcolm Turnbull into the Lodge would be to focus all their efforts on winning back the swag of city seats they lost last time, since the Nationals are the party for regional Australia.”