Tweed councillor and former mayor Joan van Lieshout is considering contesting the Federal seat of Richmond at the next election.
Tweed councillor and former mayor Joan van Lieshout is considering contesting the Federal seat of Richmond at the next election.

Former mayor eyes Richmond

FORMER Tweed mayor and Liberal Party councillor Joan van Lieshout has confirmed she may run against Federal Labor MP for Richmond, Minister for the Ageing Justine Elliot in the next Federal election.

But she says it will be up to Liberal headquarters to decide whether the party wants to contest the seat in a three-cornered battle with the National Party.

“I wouldn't deny that having the community and the Tweed at heart, any possibilities I might consider,” said Cr Lieshout, who was dumped last week as Tweed mayor after falling out with both conservative and green-leaning council colleagues.

Her comments follow a decision by the NSW Liberals to call for nominations in the adjacent Federal seat of Page, which takes in Lismore, Ballina and Grafton and was won from the Nationals in 2007 by Labor's Janelle Saffin.

That decision has been slammed by Tweed Nationals chairman Murray Lees as “a daft thing to do” and a “waste of resources”, but NSW Liberal MP Catherine Cusack says there is no agreement with the Nationals about fielding a candidate in any seat not occupied by a National Party member.

Cr van Lieshout is understood to have been offered support for her future ambitions if she had backed new mayor Warren Polglase for the top Council job.

“I don't do deals, as I've said from the very beginning,” said Cr van Lieshout. “I feel it's very sad good people can come into local government and become dependent on other people.”

Cr van Lieshout said it was up to the Liberal Party secretariat to decide if the party would contest the seat of Richmond, and up to the party “to decide who runs because it's a very involved and expensive affair”. If nominations were called she said she would then also have to face a pre-selection process.

“I don't do deals, as I've said from the very beginning,” Cr Joan van Lieshout


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