A PRIZED seat representing Western Victoria in the state’s upper house will be up for grabs again with the Liberal Party re-running its preselection.
The original preselection three months ago was won by incumbent MP Simon Ramsay and policy adviser Aaron Lane but the latter was forced to step down after his lurid social media messages were revealed.
Members of the Liberal Party’s administration committee met on Thursday to choose eight new candidates for the November state election and agreed to reopen entries for Western Victoria.
Ballarat mayor Josh Morris has been widely speculated as a possible contender to replace Mr Lane but told Fairfax Media it was “inappropriate” to comment at the time.
Cr Morris is a member of the administrative committee which includes Premier Denis Napthine and state president Tony Snell.
Surf Coast Shire councillor Rod Nockles, Terang lawyer Ian Pugh and Ballarat City councillor Samantha McIntosh all originally ran for the upper house seat in May, losing to Mr Lane.
Both councillors Nockles and McIntosh have been involved in several preselections with the former contesting Wannon in 2009 and Corangamite in 2009 and 2011 while the latter has contested preselections for Ballarat-based electorates. Dr Napthine’s Warrnambool-based electorate officer, Nathan Anderson, contested Liberal Party preselection for the Ripon electorate but said yesterday he would not run for the upper house position.
Nominations for the Liberal Party preselection will open today and close at midday on August 22. Whoever wins the ballot will be placed in second position on the Coalition ticket, almost guaranteeing the winner a spot in the upper house at the state election.
Under the Legislative Council’s proportional voting system, the Labor and Liberal parties usually secure two seats each in Western Victoria with the fifth spot coming down to preferences.
Labor has re-selected incumbent MPs Gayle Tierney and Jaala Pulford for its Western Victoria ticket while National Party MP David O’Brien, Moyne Shire mayor James Purcell, Country Alliance candidate Garry Kerr and Greens candidate Lloyd Davies will battle it out for the fifth position.