Libs choose Richmond hopeful

Joan van Lieshout with husband, Peter.
Joan van Lieshout with husband, Peter.

TWEED Councillor Joan van Lieshout has been preselected by local Liberal Party members to run for the seat of Richmond at the next Federal election this year.

Representatives from Liberal Party branches across the Richmond electorate, which stretches from Alstonville, Byron Bay and to the Queensland border, met at Cr van Lieshout’s Tweed Heads office on Wednesday night.

They voted to endorse her as a candidate to challenge the current sitting Labor member, Justine Elliot.

NSW Liberal Party state director, Mark Neeham, confirmed that Cr van Lieshout had passed the first hurdle.

“It is a two-part process,” he said. “She has been endorsed by her local members, now she will need an endorsement by the State executive of the party.

“This will likely happen in a couple of weeks. I don’t think there will be a problem, but we have to go through the formalities.”

Despite her move towards the Federal political arena, Cr van Lieshout was coy about commenting on or confirming the preselection when The Northern Star contacted her.

“That kind of press release has to come from the Liberal party,” Cr van Lieshout said. “It’s up to them to make any announcement on preselection.”

The seat has held by Ms Elliot, Labor’s Minister for Ageing, since the 2004 election, now with a margin of 8.9 per cent at the last poll in 2007 thanks to Greens preferences.

Her main threat at the next election will come from Nationals candidate and businesswoman Tania Murdock and the newly-preselected, but still to be confirmed, Liberal contender, Cr van Lieshout.

The seat was once a National party stronghold, with the Anthony family dynasty representing the electorate for a period of more than 60 years.

Hubert Lawrence ‘Larry’ Anthony first won the seat in 1937 as a Country Party candidate.

He resigned from the government in 1956 due to ill health and his son, John Douglas ‘Doug’ Anthony, easily won the next election.

The second Mr Anthony went on to win the next eleven elections before his resignation in 1983.

His youngest son, Lawrence James ‘Larry’ Anthony, held the seat from 1996 until losing it to Ms Elliott in the 2004 elections.

Regardless of who wins at the next election, it seems the feminine influence in the Richmond electorate will be assured.

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