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13 July
Comments Off on Karen Howard among those looking at upper house tilt

Karen Howard among those looking at upper house tilt

LINING UP: Former Newcastle and Paterson candidate Karen Howard is reportedly considering running for the vacant upper house seat left by Mike Gallacher’s resignation. PICTURE: Phil HearneA raft of candidates are considering nominating to replace former police minister Mike Gallacher in the NSW upper house, including former federal MP Karen McNamara and Newcastle businesswoman Karen Howard.
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The Liberal Party needs to select Mr Gallacher’s replacement before Parliament resumes on May 2 in order to retain the status quo whereby it only needs the votes of either the Christian Democrats or the Shooters, Fishers and Farmers party to pass legislation.

But it may have avoided a “nightmare” scenario of three preselections instead of one, should parliamentary secretary Scot Macdonald decide to contest the vacant position.

The Liberal upper house members are either responsible for individual “provinces” or deemed “at large”.

“At large” positions are more perilous as they are further down the upper house ticket and preselected by a state-wide panel.

Mr Macdonald is facing a strong challenge for his Northern Country province position from Catherine Cusack, an “at large” MLC who previously represented the province.

Ms Cusack last monthresigned as parliamentary secretaryafter criticising Premier Gladys Berejiklian’s first cabinet.

If Mr Macdonald decided to nominate for Mr Gallacher’s vacant Hunter/Central Coast province spot, Ms Cusack would almost certainly quit her seat to contest preselection, sparking a third preselection for her former spot.

On Tuesday, Mr Macdonald told Fairfax Media he would not comment on internal party matters, but said: “I’m happy where I am.”

LEAVING: Mike Gallacher announced his resignation from parliament last week.

Mr Gallacher last week announced his resignation from the NSW Parliament to take a job as chief executive of Ports Australia, three years after he stood down as police minister amid Operation Spicer, an Independent Commission Against Corruption inquiry into Liberal Party fundraising.

The Liberal Party has the right to replace him, and nominations for his upper house seat close on Thursday at 5pm.

Among those understood to have expressed interest are Ms McNamara, the former federal member for the Central Coast seat of Dobell, who is being backed by the party’s right faction.

Also believed to be considering nominating is businesswoman Karen Howard, the Liberal candidate for Newcastle at the 2015 NSW election, who is backed by the left faction.

Others said to be interested include Mr Gallacher’s former staff member John Macgowan, Michelle Moffatt and Young Liberal member Danielle Brown.

 
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