Roll up, roll up, for the three-ring Bradfield circus
Update 4.25pm: Brendan Nelson has told Sky News’s PM Agenda: “It has become increasingly clear to me that Bradfield needs an energetic new advocate and representative sooner rather than later.” He would not elaborate on his own plans for the future.
At 2pm Brendan Nelson will confirm he has not just left Malcolm Turnbull with an unwanted by-election, he has also potentially left the NSW Liberal Party with a ding dong battle it probably doesn’t need.
The list of potential candidates for pre-selection for the safe seat of Bradfield that Nelson is about to vacate is long, and each of the blokes being touted as likely suspects seems to have a different support base behind him.
Here’s a rudimentary form guide for the Bradfield Stakes. I suggest any punters hedge their bets.
Arthur Sinodinos: John Howard’s former chief-of-staff is looked upon in the Liberal party as some sort of saving grace. Not only is his political nous unquestioned, his economic credentials and all round humanity are considered very highly by all those who know him. The Australian’s website has just run quotes from a Liberal insider saying: “If Arthur wants the seat, he’s got it. If he doesn’t run, then it’s an open race.” Other’s are saying, however, there’s no certainty of this. And Sinodinos has got a lot to give up if he chooses to serve the people of Bradfield, indcluding an incredibly high-paid job at the NAB and a lovely house in the Eastern Suburbs, which word is, his wife is not keen to vacate.
Simon Berger: Berger is Nelson’s man. He’s been telling anyone who’ll listen he wants to walk in his bosses shoes. The 34-year-old has worked for the former Defence Minister since 2006 and has been diligently tending his patch. If Sinodinos enters the race, however, he’s likely to have his heart broken.
Tom Switzer: The loquacious former Opinion Editor of The Australian has long been touted as a potential candidate but finds himself facing an “anyone but Tom” camp, which is said to include Malcolm Turnbull.
Julian Leeser: The academic, intellectual head of the Liberal Party think tank, the Menzies Research Centre is said to be courting the backing of none other than the former PM John Howard. He’s one bright spark but the verdict on his political appeal is still out.
Tony Chappel: Finance wizz Chappel has had his name in the mix for Philip Ruddock’s seat of Berowra for ages but is believed to be running out of patience. He could take a crack at Bradfield instead.
John Hart: The CEO of the Restaurant and Caterers has been a big fundraiser for Joe Hockey and might be about to call in some favours.
Adrienne Ryan: The Oz has also named the former Ku-ring-gai mayor, but her name has come up in these discussions so many times it’s like there’s a default button on the keyboard.
Oh, this should be fun.
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