Nats to select top candidate
GRASSROOTS members of the Nationals in Richmond will have a difficult choice to make on Saturday between four pre-selection candidates, according to North Coast Nationals Senator, Fiona Nash.
The Senator was speaking after chairing a "meet the candidates" function at the Tweed Heads Bowls Club on Friday evening.
"Any one of these four gentlemen would make an excellent member of parliament," she said.
The candidates are Scott Cooper, a university lecturer from Casuarina, Matthew Fraser of Bilambil Heights who owns two local Hungry Jacks restaurants, John McMahon a newsagency owner from Tweed Heads South and Alan Hunter who runs beef on his Myocum property.
With three of these being in the Tweed Shire, the odds are in favour of a Tweed candidate emerging.
Senator Nash said they were local champions with strong records of achievement and a passion for small business and their local communities.
"I am looking forward to campaigning with whoever the grassroots members choose," she said.
Bilambil Heights' Matthew Fraser was born in Penrith, has lived on Thursday Island in the Torres Strait and is engaged to partner Paula Donovan
He bought his first property at 21, has owned and operated Hungry Jacks at Tweed Heads South for three years and has just taken on a second store.
"I have always been interested in politics," he said.
"I will work hard for Richmond."
John McMahon from Tweed Heads said he was putting his name forward as a candidate as he was "conversant with the local issues."
"I have life experiences of understanding the concerns of the constituents," he said.
He has lived in the Richmond electorate since 1989.
Scott Cooper has been married for 20 years to his wife Pip and they have a son, Mitch,16.
Born in Sydney, he lived on the Gold Coast for 14 years and now lives at Casuarina.
As a senior teaching fellow at Bond University he teaches in property and sustainable development.
"I'm passionate about the environment, social advancement and urban development," he said.
The candidate will be chosen tomorrow when the grassroot Nationals meet at the Cudgen Leagues Club at 10am.
A spokesman said the process of selection was "very democratic."
"Each candidate will give a 10 minute speech and will then be asked questions for another 10 minutes," he said.
"We expect a decision to be made by about 1pm."