Former Labor MP’s bid to contest Indi

FORMER state MP Denise Allen is looking to resurrect her political career as Labor’s candidate for Indi.

The woman who in 2000 won Benalla for the Victorian ALP at a by-election yesterday confirmed she had nominated for preselection for the federal seat.

Another in the race to be Labor’s candidate in September is Wangaratta’s George Dimopoulos whose most recent political exposure was as campaign manager for Rutherglen barista Lachlan Enshaw in the 2010 Victorian poll.

Yesterday Ms Allen said it had taken eight months to decide to contest preselection.

She said the loss to the Nationals’ Bill Sykes in 2002 had left a bitter taste in her mouth.

At the time Ms Allen claimed she was the victim of a dirty, dishonest and disgraceful campaign by the Liberals who also contested the seat.

“I guess I was asked six to eight months ago as to whether I would stand again and it really took that long to make a decision,” she said.

“For now I’m just hopeful that I can win preselection.”

Ms Allen, 59, also ran as a People Power party candidate for the Victorian upper house in 2006 but polled only marginally better than Fred Nile’s Christian Democrats.

Mr Dimopoulos is keeping his cards close to his chest.

He says he has been a member of the Labor Party for some time.

“I was born and raised in Wangaratta and returned about four years ago,” he said.

“I will go into far more detail after the preselection and if I’m chosen as the candidate.”

Ms Allen’s rollercoaster ride in state politics began in 2000 when former Nationals leader Pat McNamara retired from politics after the Coalition’s shock loss to Steve Bracks in 1999.

She prevailed in the ensuing by-election by just 237 votes from now member for Benalla Bill Sykes but was the only Labor MP to lose a seat at the next election.

In 2006, in a tilt for the upper house, she again floated the growing industrial hemp as a replacement for tobacco.

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