Two prospective Liberal candidates for Eden-Monaro to run against Labor’s Mike Kelly in the 2019 Federal election will meet Sapphire Coast Liberal supporters in Merimbula this weekend.
They are Nigel Catchlove, a management consultant, from Yass, and Jerry Nockles, an international relations expert with the United Nations and former staffer to ex-Eden-Monaro MP Peter Hendy, from Queanbeyan.
With the timetable for Liberal pre-selection for Eden-Monaro yet to be officially announced – despite ongoing grass roots pressure for an early pre-selection process – more contenders may emerge.
One senior Liberal, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, told the Magnet: “It’s high time the Liberals run the flag up the mast to see who salutes.”
“Labor’s Mike Kelly has been ‘running free’ for well over a year with no Liberal candidate in place to keep him honest with countering statements, as well as promoting major positive Coalition announcements like Snowy-Hydro 2.0,” he said.
The Liberal Country convention in Nelson Bay in late October will consider a motion for early Liberal pre-selection for Eden-Monaro.
Grass roots members in Eden-Monaro’s 13 Liberal branches want the early pre-selection process – by December this year – to give the new Liberal candidate enough time to get around and become known in this huge and diverse seat.
Eden-Monaro is in the top 10 per cent of Australia largest electorates, ranking 15th in size out of the 150 electorates in the House of Representatives. It is about the same size as Switzerland or Holland.
“This is a big challenge for the new Liberal candidate and he or she will need at least 18 months before the Federal election due in May 2019 to cover this much ground,” he said.
Mr Catchlove said Eden-Monaro was a diverse collection of communities based around a variety of industries including forestry, primary industries, tourism and defence.
“What the people in Eden-Monaro need is a representative who has experienced life in many of those areas, not just another political elite,” Mr Catchlove said.
Dr Nockles said he was seeking pre-selection because of the Liberal Party’s values – equality of opportunity rather than equality of outcome; and providing a safety net that assisted people to bounce back, rather than the “sticky spider’s web that entraps them in generational welfare dependency”.
"While lacking money growing up, my family lived by a strong set of values and worked hard,” Dr Nockles said. “I learned that poverty is more than a lack of money; it is a lack of hope – the Liberal Party is the party of hope."