Eden-Monaro election contenders push for early pre-selection

Two prospective Liberal candidates for Eden-Monaro to run against Labor’s Mike Kelly in the 2019 federal election will meet Sapphire Coast Liberal supporters in Merimbula this weekend. 

The two contenders are Nigel Catchlove, a management consultant from Yass, and Jerry Nockles, an international relations expert with the United Nations and former Peter Hendy MP staffer, from Queanbeyan.

They will discuss with local Liberals their aspirations to represent Eden-Monaro for the Liberal Party.

The same weekend event will receive an update on the campaign for Liberal Party reform in NSW from retired Major General Jim Molan.

The timetable for Liberal pre-selection for Eden-Monaro has not yet been officially announced, despite ongoing grassroots pressure for an early pre-selection process – so more contenders may emerge.

One senior Liberal, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, told the Bombala Times: “It’s high time the Liberals run the flag up the mast to see who salutes.”

“Labor’s Mike Kelly has been ‘running free’ for well over a year with no Liberal candidate in place to keep him honest with countering statements, as well as promoting major positive Coalition announcements like Snowy-Hydro 2.0.

“The Snowy-Hydro Coalition initiative alone will create 500 new jobs in the Snowies,” he said.

The Liberal Country convention in Nelson Bay in late October will consider a motion for early Liberal pre-selection for Eden-Monaro.

Grassroots members in Eden-Monaro’s 13 Liberal branches want the early pre-selection process – by December this year – to give the new Liberal candidate enough time to get around and become known in this huge and diverse regional electorate.

Eden-Monaro is in the top 10 per cent of Australia largest electorates, ranking 15th in size out of the 150 electorates in the House of Representatives. It is about the same size as Switzerland or Holland.

“This is a big challenge for the new Liberal candidate and he or she will need at least 18 months before the federal election due in May 2019 to cover this much ground,” he said.