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domingo, 8 de mayo de 2016
Australian: Matt Taylor, Dean Nalder, Deidre Willmott, Nick Goiran and Peter Collier.-Willmott adds spice to pre-selection contest....
Chamber of Commerce and Industry chief Deidre Willmott has, with exquisite timing, added another layer of intrigue to a wild preselection contest that has become about so much more than just who the Liberal Party will pick to represent the people of Bateman at next year’s State election.
But the context could not be clearer. Last weekend Matt O’Sullivan, a man who ran Andrew Forrest’s flagship charitable venture Minderoo Foundation and had strong endorsements from the mining billionaire as well as Federal Minister Alan Tudge and State Minister Joe Francis, was narrowly defeated in a preselection battle for the new Federal seat of Burt by rookie City of Gosnells councillor Liz Storer. Storer was the preferred candidate of MLC Nick Goiran, a man for whom she worked as an electorate officer and who has fast become one of the most polarising and influential people in the WA Liberal Party.
Goiran’s influence will again be put to the test at the weekend in the bitter battle for Bateman. Goiran is backing Matt Taylor, the current holder of the title of member for Bateman.
Taylor’s existing seat has been split four ways by the electoral redistribution, with 45 per cent of it in the new boundaries of Bateman and 3 per cent in the seat of Bicton, which looms as the obvious consolation prize for the loser.
Dean Nalder says Bateman should be his because 55 per cent of his existing seat of Alfred Cove is in Bateman’s new boundaries.
Nalder has the support of Liberal establishment figures such as Danielle Blain and party president Norman Moore, but also the business community whom Willmott speaks for. Corporate titan John Poynton is listed as a referee on Nalder’s Bateman nomination form.
But it is widely believed that powerbroker Peter Collier would rather see Taylor prevail (while ally Mathias Cormann is said to be sitting on the sidelines). “Nick does have a lot of support but there are also people who hate everything about him with every fibre of their being, absolutely despise him,” a party source said.
A barrister and solicitor, Goiran, 38, was once a member of the Christian Democrats. He joined the Liberal Party in 2006. Seven months later, he was president of the Liberals’ Canning Vale branch and a month after that the vice- president of Canning division. He became an MLC just three years after joining the party.
Halfway through his second term he managed to usurp former minister Simon O’Brien in the No.1 spot on the South Metro ticket and he is now making enemies in the party’s establishment as his power continues to grow. It has been a meteoric rise. Some of the criticism Goiran attracts is sour grapes (no one likes to lose a preselection) and there are some in the Liberal Party who lump him in with other overt Christians in the party such as Peter Abetz and the evangelical church-aligned MPs from the northern suburbs Albert Jacob, Jan Norberger and Ian Goodenough in a bid to create a panic about the rise of the “Christian Right”.
“They share similar views but I don’t think there is some sort of co-ordinated pincer movement from the northern suburbs and the southern suburbs,” one senior Liberal, no fan of Goiran or the churchies, said yesterday.
But some of it is founded in genuine concern about the direction the party might take if Goiran, who declined to comment, continues to expand his influence. Some worry that the party will be pushed towards hardline positions on social questions of abortion and euthanasia.
“The Liberal Party is not mean to be the Christian Democrats,” a sceptic said.
No one is prepared to predict a winner this weekend. Both the Taylor and the Nalder camps are said to be quietly confident of prevailing. They can’t both be right. Nalder has made veiled threats to quit politics if he does not win — a high-stakes gambit.
Asked about the preselection contest yesterday, Nalder said: “I’m putting my best foot forward. I’ve committed to serve the people in the community in which I live.”
Taylor declined to comment, saying it was inappropriate and he was prohibited by party rules from doing so.