Justine Elliot, Tania Murdock and Joan van Lieshout.
Justine Elliot, Tania Murdock and Joan van Lieshout. Tweed Daily News

Murdock in ring for Richmond

THE battle for the seat of Richmond in next year’s federal election is shaping up as a girls’ only contest after Pottsville pharmacy manager Tania Murdock yesterday announced she would nominate as a Nationals candidate.

She hopes to get the nod from local National Party members in just over a fortnight to challenge Labor’s Minister for Ageing Justine Elliot for the seat.

Former Tweed mayor Cr Joan van Lieshout has already announced she hopes to get Liberal Party nomination.

Mrs Murdock, who narrowly missed election to Tweed Shire Council last year and is president of the Pottsville Beach Business Association, yesterday revealed she had been thinking about standing for months.

“The Nationals approached me some months ago,” she said.

“It has become clear they are by far the party most closely aligned with my values, including standing up for regional Australia, putting small business ahead of big business, understanding the importance of good economic management and standing firm on traditional family values.”

Mrs Murdock and husband Colin have three young boys and have operated pharmacies at Pottsville for 14 years.

“I am aware of the vital role that small business can play in the economic and social well-being of regional communities,” Mrs Murdock said.

“As president of the Pottsville Beach Business Association for the past three years, I have worked hard to achieve the right balance between the preservation of our environmental amenity and the need to encourage economic and social goals within my community.

“We need fresh and committed local representation in Canberra to deliver outcomes for the people in this region: more employment and educational opportunities for our younger people, and better health and community support services for our ageing population.”

Richmond National Party secretary Murray Lees said local party members were delighted to have a candidate of the calibre of Mrs Murdock on board.

“Nominations close on Friday and the pre-selection is on December 6,” he said.

“Tania is the sole candidate so far.

“We think we are lucky to have her leading our team and we believe she can win the seat despite the nine per cent margin – she is that good.”

Ms Elliot yesterday said: “Regardless of who runs for the Coalition, their leader Malcolm Turnbull is out of touch, lacks judgement and wants to bring back WorkChoices.”

She said the Rudd Government had “delivered fairer workplace laws, pension increases, taken decisive action on climate change and cushioned our region from the effects of the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression”.

The federal electorate of Richmond includes Tweed, Byron Shire, Lennox Head and Nimbin.

Earlier this month Cr van Lieshout announced she planned to nominate as a Liberal Party candidate for the seat while the National Party was still apparently searching for a candidate.

Cr van Lieshout said she had been encouraged by other Liberal Party members to stand but intended to stay on as a councillor even if elected. Senior council staff later confirmed there was no legal impediment to her holding down both jobs.

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