Money no issue for federal seat
THE likelihood of the Liberal Party running a highly-cashed up campaign for the federal seat of Richmond does not worry the National Party, which once traditionally held the seat, according to Tweed Nationals chairman Murray Lees.
The comments follow revelations that likely Liberal contender for the seat, Tweed Shire Councillor Joan van Lieshout plans to open her own councillor’s office in the Tweed Heads CBD and may also use it as an office for her federal election campaign if pre-selected.
Cr van Lieshout is hoping for party endorsement as a Liberal candidate for the seat currently held by Labor MP and Minister for Ageing Justine Elliot.
Pottsville businesswoman Tania Murdock is hoping for National Party endorsement as a candidate and is the only National to have nominated for pre-selection.
Mr Lees said yesterday the National Party was “neither concerned about, nor particularly interested in, the campaign budgets of other potential candidates”.
“The Nationals are used to campaigning on relatively small budgets,” he added.
“We represent many of the poorest electorates in the country.
“Our constituency doesn’t include big business or the unions, so we mostly rely on local fundraising.
“We make up the deficit by choosing better candidates and campaigning smarter.”
National Party members are due to meet on Sunday week to decide if they want to endorse Mrs Murdock as their candidate.
Her campaign got off to a rocky start last week when it was revealed she had tried to avoid suspension of her driving licence following an accumulation of demerit points and speeding fines by using a Queensland address to get a Queensland licence.
Cr van Lieshout revealed earlier this week she plans to open her own office in the heart of Tweed Heads to be “more accessible to the people”.
She and her millionaire developer husband Peter van Lieshout had purchased an office in the Tweed Heads CBD, which she plans to use as her “base” as a councillor and potentially as campaign headquarters in next year’s federal election.
She would also use the office for her volunteer business Eve International offering support to women suffering domestic violence or abuse.
Her husband might also use it for professional meetings associated with Mr van Lieshout’s eco-township development west of Mt Warning known as Nightcap Village.