STIRLING councillor Karen Caddy is fighting a losing battle to become the Liberal candidate for Stirling at the looming federal election.
Under WA Liberal Party rules a candidate must have been a member for at least 30 days before nominating, but Ms Caddy only signed up on January 25, the same day of Stirling MP Michael Keenan’s shock announcement he wouldn’t be re-contesting the seat.
Ms Caddy says she is a dyed-in-the-wool Blue and is calling for special dispensation before nominations close on February 15.
“I have been an active Liberal supporter for many years, regularly attending fundraisers and supporting my local members with their election campaigns,” she says.
“I was in discussions with my local branches about joining up, but simply hadn’t gotten around to doing so.
“I have lived in Stirling for 25 years and served the Stirling community for five years as their local councillor.
“I am committed to this community and I want to be sure that we have a strong local voice in Canberra–someone who will stand up for our values and address our challenges.”
But the Voice understands her chances of being nominated are slim, with the WA Liberal Party’s constitution forbidding the reduction of the 30-day provisional membership.
Other likely nominees include Michelle Sutherland, state president of the WA Liberal Women’s Council and a Bayswater councillor; Joanne Quinn, a corporate lawyer who is general counsel for Edith Cowan University, and Vince Connelly, Stirling division vice-president and staffer to Curtin MP Julie Bishop.
“There have been a number of highly credible and strong potential candidates expressing an interest in contesting the seat of Stirling for the Liberal Party,” said WA Liberal Party state director Sam Calabrese.
Mr Keenan has been the Liberal member for Stirling for almost 15 years, but his wife gave birth to their fourth child last year and he said he was stepping down to spend more time with his family.
During his tenure he increased the seat’s Liberal margin from two to six per cent, but commentators say without an incumbent, Labor have a chance of winning Stirling at this year’s election.
by STEPHEN POLLOCK