Labor prepares for pre-selection battles

NOMINATED: Juiliana Addison will contest the Labor pre-selection battle for Wendouree with electrician Tom McIntosh ahead of the 2018 state election.

NOMINATED: Juiliana Addison will contest the Labor pre-selection battle for Wendouree with electrician Tom McIntosh ahead of the 2018 state election.

The retirement of long-serving Wendouree Sharon Knight has laid the groundwork for a hotly contested pre-selection battle between two Labor nominees.

Ms Knight was first elected in 2010 but announced in July she would step down in 2018

Electrician Tom McIntosh and Ballarat Health Service board member Juiliana Addison are the two nominees.

Mr McIntosh said he wanted to see recent investment in the electorate continued.

“Across the board, anyway to bring investment to the electorate is what I will be doing,” he said,

“I am also passionate about services on the ground for people who have fallen on hard times.”

Ms Addison has been a teacher at Clarendon College for 11 years.

She said she has put her name forward because she believed in transforming communities for the better.

“We have a lot of pressure on us with Ballarat growth, that means we need investment, we need infrastructure,” she said.

“We need to develop the first floor at Ballarat Health Service to allow for better patient flow. I think that would have a very positive impact.”

Ms Knight held an 5.79 per cent margin in the Wendouree seat following the 2014 election.

STEPPING DOWN: Retiring Wendouree MP Sharon Knight has held the seat since 2010. Two people have nominated in the pre-selection battle for the seat.

STEPPING DOWN: Retiring Wendouree MP Sharon Knight has held the seat since 2010. Two people have nominated in the pre-selection battle for the seat.

She won 43 per cent of the primary vote ahead of the Liberal’s 39.66 per cent.

A similar pre-selection battle will also be fought in the marginal seat of Ripon, which is currently held by Liberal MP Louise Staley.

The electorate includes the Ballarat suburb of Lucas, Ararat, Stawell, Maryborough and Charlton.

Ms Staley won the seat by just 0.75 per cent from Labor after preferences, making it one of the most marginal seats in the state and key battleground at the 2018 election.

Three Labor nominees for the seat are former Tatyoon farmer and mental health worker Kate Astbury, Maurice Billi and Sarah De Santis.

Ms Astbury has worked with Grampians Community Health and is the mother of Richmond premiership defender David Astbury.

Mr Billi is also a Grampians Community Health worker, while Ms De Santis works in law.

MARGINAL FIGHT: Liberal MP Louise Staley won sprawling Ripon with a 1.5 per cent margin at the 2014 election. Picture: Lachlan Bence

MARGINAL FIGHT: Liberal MP Louise Staley won sprawling Ripon with a 1.5 per cent margin at the 2014 election. Picture: Lachlan Bence

Retiring Buninyong MP Geoff Howard has been in the city’s south for 17 years.

Ballarat Community Health worker Michaela Settle will replace Mr Howard on the ballot with no other Labor members nominating.

Ms Settle said she would be learning a lot from Mr Howard before the next election.

“I think it is important we get out there and talk to the community first and see what they think is the best thing for Buninyong,” she said.

“I have a fairly broad life experience and I think I would like to represent the region in Parliament.”