RICHARD Torbay has won the first round in his bid to contest the federal seat of New England as a member of The Nationals.
Mr Torbay was the only nomination for party pre-selection when nominations closed at 5pm yesterday.
He will now proceed to be officially endorsed at The Nationals’ preselection meeting in Tamworth on August 18.
The Nationals’ Federal Electorate Council chairman Greg Kachel announced the nomination yesterday evening in a four- sentence statement.
“Although he is the only candidate, Mr Torbay will still address the preselection meeting before members vote on his nomination,” he said.
“If Mr Torbay gains the nomination he will continue as the independent member for Northern Tablelands in the state parliament until the writs for the federal election are issued.”
The next federal election is due between August 3 and November 30, next year, although key independents Tony Windsor and Rob Oakeshott said yesterday they could force an early election if Labor changed its leader amidst ongoing speculation Julia Gillard is losing favour within the ALP ranks.
Mr Torbay’s nomination ends speculation that Nationals senator Barnaby Joyce would contest the seat. Mr Joyce, who grew up in the New England and is a graduate of the University of New England, said he was considering nominating, but that was before Mr Torbay announced his intentions with the federal Nationals leader Warren Truss by his side in June.
– The Northern Daily Leader
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