Lismore opts for Community Preselection
In a first for the North Coast, National Party members in the electorate of Lismore have decided to give the local community the final say in their choice of candidate for the 2019 State Election.
The decision follows Thomas George’s announcement in that this would be his last term in NSW Parliament.
“I made it clear at the 2015 election that if elected, this term would be my last in the Parliament. Although I will be stepping down in March 2019, I will continue to work just as hard for locals as I have since 1999,” Thomas told the Lismore Star last week.
The decision by Lismore Party members means that all members of the public who are enrolled to vote in the Lismore Electorate will be invited to cast a ballot on 18 November 2017 in the Lismore Community Preselection.
Nominations opened on Friday, 30 June and remain open until Friday 11 August.
Northern Rivers resident and architect of the Community Preselection model, Ben Franklin MLC welcomed the Lismore Nationals’ decision to embrace this new way to select candidates.
“In 2010, Australia’s first Community Preselection was held in Tamworth by The Nationals,” Mr Franklin said.
“On the Preselection day, The Nationals set up polling booths across the electorate just like a normal election and more than 4,000 ordinary members of the community turned up on a wet winter’s day to cast a vote and choose our candidate.
Mr Franklin said the Party was hoping for a similar reception in Lismore.
“In this day and age there’s a great need for political parties to open their doors to the community, and I am confident the people of the Lismore electorate will relish the opportunity to play their part” Mr Franklin said.
The ALP have previously trialled a bastardised version of the system in the Ballina electorate, with local party members retaining 50% of the power – allowing them to override the people’s choice. The process was also subject to claims of vote-rigging from ALP head office.
Nationals State Director Nathan Quigley said his Party’s process would be fair and open.
“The winner of the community vote on the day will be our candidate” Mr Quigley said.
“It will be a physical ballot, the same as in state and federal elections, with scrutineers allowed to observe the casting and counting of votes.”
“This goes beyond our Party and speaks to the future of participation in our democracy. It’s important that we get it right.”
Lismore Nationals electorate Chairman Matthew Scheibel said that the local members who had voted for this model were placing their faith in the electorate.
“The Lismore electorate is a diverse mix of communities and people and our candidate needs to reflect this diversity.”
“It’s an exciting and genuine offer for people to have their say and we hope they’ll take us up on it.”
Nominations open: 30 June 2017
Nomination close: 11 August 2017
Community preselection: 18 November 2017
Please contact Head Office on 1800 672 263 if you would like a nomination form or further information.