Nats candidate survives grilling

POTTSVILLE businesswoman Tania Murdock was yesterday officially chosen as the National Party’s candidate for the Federal seat of Richmond – becoming the first candidate of any the political parties to be endorsed.

Mrs Murdock overcame concerns about giving a Queensland address in a bid to avoid the loss of her driving licence due to speeding fines to win a unanimous vote from National Party members meeting at the headquarters of garbage contractor Solo Resources in Chinderah.

“The one thing I was really happy about is the vote was unanimous,” said the mother of three young children who with her husband Colin runs two pharmacies in the Pottsville area.

Mrs Murdock said she was not daunted that the party had chosen her to follow in the footsteps of former MP Larry Anthony and his father, former deputy Prime Minister Doug Anthony, who represented the electorate when it was regarded as safe National Party territory.

“It just fills me with confidence that the people behind me are one hundred per cent behind me, not fifty-fifty,” she said.

“Just having the whole National Party behind me, I feel very confident.”

The vote was despite a question session which one member described as a ‘grilling’.

“They certainly gave me some pretty strong questions,” Mrs Murdock said.

“They wanted to know as much as they could about me, which is pretty understandable.”

As the candidate for Richmond – which stretches from the Queensland border south to Lennox Head and west to Nimbin – Mrs Murdock will run against sitting Labor Party MP and Minister for Ageing Justine Elliot, who is yet to be officially endorsed.

Tweed Shire councillor Joan van Lieshout is hoping to stand for the Liberal Party, while the Greens Party is yet to choose a candidate.

The National Party Richmond Electorate Council chairman Murray Lees said about 40 people from branches across the electorate attended the meeting, including State MP for Tweed Geoff Provest and Tweed mayor Warren Polglase.

He said Mrs Murdock, despite being the only nominee, ‘didn’t get a free ride’.

“It was quite a rigorous process,” he added.

“We are now the only party that has a candidate. The Labor Party does not have a candidate officially endorsed, though I’m sure Justine Elliot will get it.”

Mr Lees said Mrs Murdock would appoint a campaign committee of ‘10 or 12 people’.

“We are pretty excited about it all,” he said. “We were very impressed with her speech.”

Just days after announcing her intention to nominate last month it was revealed Mrs Murdock had tried to pass herself off as a Queenslander when her application appealing her driver’s licence suspension for an accumulation of demerit points was rejected at Tweed Heads Local Court.

She has been president of the Pottsville Beach Business Association for the past three years.

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