Ex-firefighter to stand for ALP in Polwarth

FORMER firefighter Joe Brown will run as the Labor candidate in one of Victoria’s most conservative electorates in the November state election.

Forrest-based Mr Brown will run against Transport Minister Terry Mulder in Polwarth, a seat which is held by the Coalition on an ultra-safe 13 per cent margin.

Mr Brown announced his candidacy via social media site Twitter last week and is on course to be officially endorsed by the Labor Party next week but has been unavailable for interviews.

“I have been officially endorsed as the Victorian Labor Party candidate for the Polwarth electorate,” he tweeted on Friday.

His online message received congratulations from a number of Labor Party figures, including Bendigo West MP Maree Edwards, former Wannon ALP candidate Michael Barling and Bellarine MP Lisa Neville.

Mr Mulder and Mr Brown are the only two candidates to declare their intention to contest Polwarth in November,  with the Greens likely to finalise its preselection for the seat later this month.

Six candidates stood for Polwarth at the last state election, including minor party Country Alliance, which has signalled it will also announce its representative soon.

Mr Brown first made headlines two years ago after Parks Victoria decided not to rehire the contract firefighter for the 2012-13 fire season, only months after he was badly injured in a fuel reduction burn.

“It’s been really, really nasty; I had this stupid belief that, working for the government, you would be looked after if you were hurt,’’ Mr Brown told The Age in 2012.

Polwarth is one of the few seats to have never been held by the Labor Party, with Mr Mulder holding the seat for the past 14 years after succeeding Hamer and Kennett government minister Ian Smith.

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