Former MP says Purcell has a chance in Lower House

Adam Kempton

Adam Kempton

Former Member for Warrnambool Adam Kempton reckons political commentator Nick Economou has got it wrong.

Nick Economou said Upper House Member James Purcell had no chance if he stood for the Lower House at this November’s state elections. But Mr Kempton thinks Mr Purcell could be successful.

Mr Kempton, who was the Liberal Member for Warrnambool between 1982-1985 before the seat became South West Coast, draws upon his own experience to justify his claim.

He said his experience was the sitting Liberal member could be defeated when there was a strong alternative candidate, such as he faced with Nationals candidate John McGrath in 1985.

While Mr Kempton gained about 42 per cent of the primary vote in the 1985 election, Mr McGrath, who gained about 35 per cent, was able to defeat him with the help of Labor Party preferences.  He said Mr Purcell’s chances of getting a Lower House seat were boosted by his strong performance as an Upper House MP and the strong possibility he could get preferences from Labor.

The State Liberals’ Coalition partner, the Victorian Nationals, have said it won’t run a candidate against the sitting Liberal Member for South West Coast, Roma Britnell, which meant she was not assured of National Party preferences, Mr Kempton said.

Mrs Britnell won 40 per cent of the primary vote at the 2015 by-election but still needed preferences to win the seat, he said.

With the field of candidates and their preferences still to be announced, Mrs Britnell’s seat was “still in play,” Mr Kempton said.


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