Field of three in preselection for Ramsay's seat

Bev McArthur is believed to have the numbers to gain Liberal preselection to replace Simon Ramsay as an Upper House Western Victoria MP.
Bev McArthur is believed to have the numbers to gain Liberal preselection to replace Simon Ramsay as an Upper House Western Victoria MP.

A small field of three candidates has emerged in the Liberal preselection battle to replace Western Victoria Upper House member Simon Ramsay.

Bev McArthur is believed to have 15 of the administrative committee's 22 votes.

Clear signs that Corangamite councillor Bev McArthur has the numbers to replace Mr Ramsay are believed to have reduced the field to the unusually small number of three.

Other nominees are believed to be Geelong councillor Stephanie Asher and Kristy Beveridge of Victoria Valley in the Grampians.

Liberal Party rules prevent nominees from declaring their nomination publicly.

The pre-selection will be decided by the party’s administrative committee in the next few weeks.

Mrs McArthur, a party country female state vice president and administrative committee member, is believed to have 15 of the committee’s 22 votes.

The administrative committee is dominated by a conservative faction led by Marcus Bastiaan, who holds one of the party’s four vice-president positions.

He is believed to lead a bloc of 11 votes with party president Michael Kroger contributing another four votes in support of Mrs McArthur.

The fact that all nominees are women is believed to be a result of Mr Kroger’s call in June for the party to have more female MPs.

At the time he threatened to intervene in preselections to improve the party’s gender balance.

Western Victorian Liberal members have expressed disquiet that regional party branches won’t get to vote in the preselection process.

The preselection is being held after Simon Ramsay decided not to recontest the seat after being charged with high level drink driving last month.

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