MIKE Kelly has confirmed he will be putting his name forward for preselection to re-contest the seat of Eden-Monaro as the Labor Party candidate in the next federal election.
At a packed dinner at Littleton Cafe, Bega, on Friday night, Dr Kelly's announcement was applauded and cheered.
Confirmation of the move for pre-selection on his Facebook page late Tuesday was also met with plenty of support.
In making the announcement he was extremely critical of the Federal Government's budget measures with its “twisted priorities”.
He deplored the cuts to education and health, the “earn or learn” provisions, the changes to Medicare, pharmaceutical benefits and pensions, and said with this budget there would be more imbalance between city and regional areas.
Dr Kelly said he was particularly disappointed Veterans Affairs' pensions would be cut, including for widows, orphans and disabled veterans.
A single veteran pensioner, for example, would lose $60 a fortnight he said.
“We had a social contract that we would look after those who have risked their lives for our country and their widows and orphans if the worst happens, and those who suffer disabling wounds, Dr Kelly said.
“This was a breach of faith”.
Commenting on the 16,000 public servants in Canberra to be sacked, Dr Kelly said these were the people who spent their weekends and holidays on the Far South Coast and contributed to this region’s economy.
“Also all the progress we had made on renewable energy in Australia and this area in particular - it's all been pulled from under us.
“What has been brought down in the budget has provided me with the compelling motivation to re-contest the seat of Eden-Monaro,” Dr Kelly said.
“It is now time for us to rediscover our values as Australians, to be creative and make sure that there are good policies in place to give our kids a promising future.”
Meanwhile, current Member for Eden-Monaro Peter Hendy told Fairfax Media Dr Kelly was suffering from “massive relevance deprivation syndrome".
“The last time we heard from Kelly he said he was going to run for the Senate," Dr Hendy said.
"That was a failed bid, and he actually withdrew, so who knows what he’s going to do.
“It looks to me that people like Mike Kelly and [former state member] Steve Whan are running more for their personal ambition and ego rather than in the best interests of the people of the electorate.
“On the budget, we are fixing the problems that Kelly and his mates caused...and I confidently say that after three years, this budget will actually have people in [Eden-Monaro] better off than they would have been,” Dr Hendy said.