State Lib spot for Sophie Mirabella

LIBERAL Party sources in the North East have downplayed former federal MP Sophie Mirabella’s nomination to the Victorian party’s peak decision-making body, saying they doubted it was a bid to re-enter politics.

Mrs Mirabella, who lost the seat of Indi to independent Cathy McGowan in last year’s election, has been nominated for a position on the party’s state assembly.

Media reports have said there were only 14 candidates for 15 positions reserved for country women — meaning Mrs Mirabella would automatically receive a position.

The Border Mail was unable to contact Mrs Mirabella yesterday, while a spokesman for the Victorian Liberal Party had little to say on her nomination.

“As a grassroots party, we welcome and encourage contributions from all members, including our former members of Parliament,” he said.

But Wodonga branch president Craig Mundy hosed down speculation Mrs Mirabella wanted another run at Parliament.

“I can’t see that happening,” he said.

“She has a lot to offer in whatever she puts her mind to, but I don’t know if coming back into politics would appeal after all she’s already done.

“She’s ticked a lot of boxes and achieved most of what she wanted.”

In 12 years as Indi’s MP, Mrs Mirabella worked her way up from the backbenches of Parliament to several shadow ministry roles, but her defeat in September saw her miss out on the prized goal — a seat in cabinet as manufacturing minister.

Mr Mundy said while he could not see Mrs Mirabella putting her hand up, “personally I would support her if she did”.

“Whatever she puts her mind to, she is an asset,” he said.

“She has a lot to offer (the state assembly).”

Another Liberal Party source in Indi, who did not wish to be named, said nominations were “a private matter for party members”.

“It’s our democracy at play,” the source said.

“Sophie has always been very involved within the party so I’m not surprised she continues to be.

“I think she would be involved, regardless of what she does professionally in the future.”

Mrs Mirabella has kept a low profile since the election, but the government has appointed her to the board of shipbuilding company ASC Pty Ltd.

She was in Canberra last week as the guest of honour at a farewell dinner with her former parliamentary colleagues, including the Prime Minister Tony Abbott.

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