Taking time to get candidate right

LOCAL National Party members should know at the end of next week whether they have a potential candidate in next year’s Federal election.

Nominations for potential National Party contenders to stand against sitting Labor MP Justine Elliot and possibly former mayor Joan van Lieshout, who wants to run as a Liberal candidate, are due to close on Friday week.

Tweed Nationals chairman Murray Lees said members would then select their candidate on December 6.

“This is a very democratic, if slightly elaborate process, involving branch nomination meetings, etc,” he said.

“All I can say is that this is proceeding as it has since our party was founded 90 years ago; that I am excited with the interest shown; and that I remain very confident we will have the best candidate in the field.”

Mr Lees defended the time it was taking for his party to find a candidate arguing “no other candidates have been preselected in Richmond, including van Lieshout, Elliot or the Greens”.

Cr van Lieshout, who is still waiting for an official nod from Liberal Party headquarters, said she was aware “the National Party aren’t happy” about her announcement.

She believed the Nationals did have a candidate lined up, but had not yet publicly announced who that was.

She said she had also had “some careful and pretty sound advice” about running and added: “The Liberal Party doesn’t take people on easily. They wouldn’t encourage me to run if that was to the detriment of the party.”

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