Ballarat mayor Joshua Morris jumps into state politics

BALLARAT Mayor Joshua Morris will make the jump into state politics at this year’s election despite previously ruling it out. 

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Cr Morris was selected on Monday night as a Liberal Party candidate for an upper house seat in Western Victoria. 

The open position is second on the ballot and is seen as almost a certainty to be elected into parliament at November’s election. 

In an interview with The Courier in November last year Cr Morris adamantly denied he would play any part as a candidate in the upcoming election. 

VIDEO: Joshua Morris tells The Courier last November he would "absolutely not" run in the 2014 state election.

It is unknown what impact this decision may have on the City of Ballarat and Cr Morris’s mayorship with chief executive Anthony Schinck previously refusing to comment on the issue and the impact it may have on the council. 

Cr Morris refused to comment yesterday.

Another City of Ballarat councillor Samantha Macintosh had previously nominated for preselection for the spot, however would not comment on the position when contacted by The Courier on Monday. 

The meeting to decide on the position was held by the Liberal Party Administrative Committee of which Cr Morris and Premier Denis Napthine are members. 

Speaking early on Monday, Western Victoria MP Simon Ramsay said he understood there was 12 candidates seeking preselection for the seat. 

“I am very aware of some of the people who have nominated, they have rung me and sought some advice and I have been very happy to provide that,” he said, 

“It has been somewhat overshadowed I think that the admin are also meeting to discuss the preselection for the seat of Hawthorn where it was recently announced the previous premier Ted Baillieu was vacating.”

Mr Ramsay is expected to be the first name listed on the ballot paper for the Liberal Party. 

The open position on the ticket was created after the downfall of previous candidate Aaron Lane who was exposed using Twitter to attack homosexuals and referring to former Labor leader Simon Crean as a “big C” and former speaker Peter Slipper as “a giant C”.

In tweets made between 2011 and 2012, Mr Lane liberally used derogatory terms.

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