The Hamilton Spectator – 22 September, 2015
SOUTH-WEST Coast’s state by-election Liberal candidate will be Woolsthorpe farmer Roma Britnell after she won support from a majority of local party members at a preselection vote on Sunday.
Ms Britnell told The Spectator that she was “honoured to have been nominated to represent the Liberal Party in South-West Coast.
“I have lived in the region my whole life and raised a family here and I look forward to addressing its issues, strengths and challenges,” she said.
“Roads will be one of the significant issues.”
Ms Britnell is the vice president of United Dairyfarmers of Victoria, a commodity group of the Victorian Farmers Federation.
Her family’s farm was selected to host the launch of the Federal Government’s Agriculture Policy Whitepaper in early July.
Former Prime Minister Tony Abbott, Federal Agriculture Minister Barnaby Joyce and Wannon MP Dan Tehan attended the whitepaper launch.
The parliamentary secretary for agriculture, Tasmanian Senator Richard Colbeck, also attended the July event.
Senator Colbeck was promoted by Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull on Sunday to Minister for Tourism and International Education and minister assisting the Minister for Trade and Investment.
The Weekly Times has reported that 90 Liberal Party members engaged in two rounds of voting to preselect Ms Britnell.
Glenelg Shire Councillor Anita Rank and Portland accountant Deborah Kieller had also stood for preselection.
The Spectator understands that the Warrnambool region has about four times more Liberal Party members than Portland, where Ms Rank and Kieller were based.
Former state upper house MP Donna Petrovich, and fashion retail businesswoman Jacinta Anderson and Tom Napthine, the son of former South-West Coast MP Denis Napthine, were also contenders.
Ms Britnell will be going up against the Coalition’s partner, the Nationals, who have nominated former Warrnambool Mayor and Liberal Party member Michael Neoh as their candidate.
The Greens have announced Warrnambool student Thomas Campbell as their candidate and Roy Reekie may run as an independent if Labor does not nominate for the seat.
South-West Coast was vacated by former Premier Denis Napthine after 27 years of representing the region, which goes to the polls for the by-election on October 31.