Phil Taylor.
Phil Taylor.

Richmond Nats to vote on candidate

SUPPORT might be rising for the Federal Coalition in the nation's opinion polls, but none of the four people standing for Nationals preselection in Richmond this weekend say that factored in their decision to run for the seat.

Richmond Nationals tomorrow vote for the second time to decide on a candidate for the looming Federal election.

However, while the last preselection ballot yielded only one candidate – Tania Murdock – party members tomorrow will have a field of four candidates to choose from.

The candidates include Richmond Nationals president Alan Hunter and lawyer Jim Fuggle from the south of the electorate; and businessman Phil Taylor and pharmacist Brian Curran from the seat's north.

The candidates gave various reasons for standing – none related to an increased chance of a Nationals victory in Richmond as the Government's popularity plummets over issues such as the shelving of the emissions trading scheme, the botched home insulation scheme, claims of rorting in school building projects, and the mining super tax.

Mr Hunter said the need to challenge the Government now seemed more urgent.

“Speaking in a general forum, I can understand the increased interest that seems to be there with the waste and I'd put it down to the fact that it seems more urgent than it did,” he said.

Alan Hunter said he had long considered running for Parliament and a change in his personal circumstances meant he was now able to act on that.

He said it had always been a priority for the Nationals to field a candidate in Richmond.

“The Nationals in Richmond have a very rich history, it's very much part of who we are,” he said.

“We're focused very much on regional areas. We don't go into the cities and we're focused on making a contribution to the conservative side of politics.”

Phil Taylor said he had never before considered running until he was approached by people within the party about standing for this preselection. Mr Taylor, who ran as an independent for Tweed Shire Council at the last poll, said he was committed to helping the community and was excited about the potential ofdoing that as an MP.

Brian Curran said he was new to politics – he joined the Nationals only nine months ago – and had also not considered standing for election before being prompted by other party members. Like Mr Hunter, Mr Curran said his personal circumstances had changed over the past few months, making him able toaccept the challenge.

Mr Fuggle is a long-standing member of the Nationals who ran second in the preselections that led to former Page MP Ian Causley and Lismore MP Thomas George being elected to the Federal and State parliaments.

Mr Fuggle said he was standing this time around because ‘I saw a real need and I thought I could help meet that need'.

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