Covering the Goulburn and Murray valleys

Ryan wins pre-selection but the battle begins

The fate of the new state seat of Euroa lies with the Nationals partner in the Coalition Government.

CHALPAT SONTI February 19, 2014 4:11am

New Nationals candidate for the state seat of Euroa Stephanie Ryan and member for Northern Victoria Damian Drum were among the interested onlookers at a briefing on the Mickleham-Kilmore fires at the Seymour incident control centre on Saturday.

She’s a new face for a new seat but Stephanie Ryan knows there is a battle ahead if she is to become our new representative in the Victorian Parliament.

The new Euroa electorate was created out of the carve-up of the old seats of Seymour and Benalla and a bit more to the west besides. While both Benalla (Nationals) and Seymour (Liberals) are Coalition-held, just who will line up for the contest later this year is unclear.

Member for Benalla Bill Sykes has announced his retirement, and Ms Ryan, 27, was given the nod over Marty Corboy at the pre-selection on Saturday to represent the Nationals in the new seat.

Member for Seymour Cindy McLeish is to contest the new seat of Eildon, and whether or not the Liberals choose to contest Euroa will be crucial to determining its outcome.

If both Coalition partners run, some in the Nationals reckon the party will need to win about 30 per cent in the first-preference count to hold off the Liberals.

At the last election, the Nationals polled four per cent first preferences in the Seymour electorate — which makes up just under half the new seat — so the task in the south is large.

Should the Liberals not run, the Nationals hold a double-figure edge on Labor in the two-party preferred stakes, with comfortable leads in the old Benalla, Rodney and Shepparton parts of the electorate.

Ms Ryan actually made Seymour her first stop on Saturday, leaving the preselection to attend a briefing at the CFA incident control centre on McIntyre St in relation to the Mickleham-Kilmore fires.

She was at the Seymour Alternative Farming Expo on Sunday before travelling to Kilmore with Member for Northern Victoria Damian Drum.

The former journalist and senior political adviser said in a statement she ‘‘knew how to get things done in government and deliver for the new electorate’’.

‘‘I will bring fresh ideas to the Parliament and I have the energy and passion to deliver for the entire community,’’ she said.

‘‘My campaign starts today and I look forward to meeting and talking with as many people as I can over the coming months.’’

Dr Sykes said: ‘‘This represents a generational change for the National Party and importantly a cultural change. Stephanie is a country girl who also has very good connections to the city. Marty Corboy was also an outstanding candidate.’’

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