One of The National Party’s strongest voices in South East NSW has moved to end speculation about her political ambitions.
Monaro local, Bronnie Taylor says she won’t stand for preselection if The National’s decide to contest Eden-Monaro at the next Federal Election.
Commentary has been building since The National’s launched a Cooma – Snowy Branch in early July.
Despite the sitting State Member for Monaro, being the National’s John Barilaro, the move to establish a local branch has been interpreted as a tilt at the bigger Federal seat. Talk suggesting the Nationals are either playing push back against their coalition partner the Liberal Party or will be an ally and direct preferences to sure up their conservative comrades.
Mrs Taylor has been a member of the NSW Upper House for the last two years, a gear change after being Deputy Mayor of Cooma-Monaro Shire Council while combining a nursing career.
Her high profile and popularity in the electorate and recent appearance alongside the Prime Minister in Cooma had political commentators tipping Mrs Taylor as a possible Nationals candidate in a three-way contest for Eden-Monaro.
Speaking to About Regional, the NSW Parliamentary Secretary for the Deputy Premier and Southern NSW moved to squash such talk once and for all.
“I ran for State politics because I really care about the things that State politics is in charge of, things like health and education and really important social issues, and I am really happy where I am,” Mrs Taylor says.
Earlier media comments seemed to leave the door open, Mrs Taylor says she was taken by surprise but is now moving to clarify her position and will not be contesting Eden-Monaro.
“I think it’s really important that we have Members of Parliament that are in places where their strengths lie, and my strength lies in the work that I am able to do at the moment,” Mrs Taylor says.
With six years still to run on her NSW Parliamentary term, Mrs Taylor says she is confident a strong Nationals candidate will be preselected for Eden-Monaro if that’s what the party decides.
Going into the 2016 Federal Poll, the ‘bellwether’ seat was held by the Liberal’s, Peter Hendy.
Mrs Taylor believes Mr Hendy lost to Labor’s Mike Kelly because he wasn’t present or connected to the people.
Mike Kelly regained the seat he lost to Hendy three years earlier with a 5.84% swing. However, the seat which takes in Tumut, Queanbeyan, Jindabyne, Narooma, Bega and Eden is still seen as marginal, and perhaps leaning towards the Coalition.
The sitting member says he isn’t surprised the Nationals are interested in Eden-Monaro and if they do contest the ballot it will be the first time they have done so since 1993.
In a blog posted last week, Mr Kelly wrote that the news was further evidence the Turnbull Coalition Government was “falling to pieces.”
“Instead of focusing on issues like jobs, penalty rates, schools and Medicare – the Turnbull Coalition are focusing on themselves,” Mr Kelly wrote.
“The last thing the people of Eden-Monaro need is two Turnbull Coalition candidates bringing their Canberra power games into our local politics again.”
Mrs Taylor rejects any sense of political games.
“The [Coalition] agreement is that if we have a sitting candidate then you don’t run against them,” Mrs Taylor says.
“We don’t at the moment we have a Labor member, and so if the National Party is keen to run I really hope they do.”
Mrs Taylor says voters deserve a range of candidates to choose from.
“The voters will decide and they will vote for people on merit and they have shown that,” she says.
“They showed it last time [2016 Election] when the infamous bellwether seat of Eden-Monaro didn’t go with the Government because people chose a candidate they wanted for that time.”
Mrs Talyor hopes next time voters don’t choose the Labor candidate.
“But if they do they first deserve to have a choice between the Liberals and the Nationals,” she says.
“I love being part of the National Party, I really think they are the best party for rural and regional New South Wales.”
The NSW Liberal Party meets in Sydney this coming weekend to decide on how it’s candidates will be preselected for the next Federal Poll which isn’t due until late 2018 or early 2019. Former PM, Tony Abbott is pushing for greater grassroots involvement.
Local Liberals keen to contest Eden-Monaro at this stage are said to be Jerry Nockles, former Hendy staffer and current Head of Government Relations with UNICEF Australia and retired Major General, Jim Molan.
Labor’s Mike Kelly has a tip for any candidate that stands, “At the last Federal Election…they [voters] sent a clear message; they want their Federal Member of Parliament to be a person who is passionate about the region, works hard and listens to them.”