INDIGO mayor Bernard Gaffney is a possible early contender for National Party pre-selection in the federal seat of Indi.
Cr Gaffney recently joined the party and was elected president of the Benambra branch with his Indigo Council colleague Cr Don Chambers chosen as vice-president.
The Nationals are unlikely to announce the opening of pre-selection for Indi while party leaders Warren Truss and Barnaby Joyce are in Wodonga for a party room meeting and associated functions.
Cr Chambers was the Nationals’ candidate the last time the party contested Indi in 2001.
Sophie Mirabella won the seat for the Liberals, but her election defeat in late 2013 has opened the door for the Nationals to have another tilt.
Cr Gaffney has been promoted to the party’s state council and attended the Indi federal electorate council meeting yesterday where another possible pre-selection contender Marty Corboy was re-elected chairman.
“You would expect the party would run a candidate and I would expect the announcement to be made soon,” Cr Gaffney said.
“Going for pre-selection is not on my radar, but never say never.
“I would expect high quality candidates to go for pre-selection.
“There is a positive feel among members and this is an opportunity we didn’t think would present itself.”
The Indi council yesterday recommended the party run a candidate in Indi and pre-selection be opened soon.
Cr Gaffney pointed to the Nationals’ strong showing in the state seats of Ovens Valley and Euroa which were retained by Tim McCurdy and won by Steph Ryan respectively.
“One would imagine they would have done well had they run in Benambra,” he said.
“The Nationals are the only party which stands for regional and rural Victoria.”
Cr Chambers said the Nationals were prepared to welcome former state MP Ken Jasper and Tammy Atkins back into the fold after being prominent in the campaign of independent Cathy McGowan.
“Some individuals may have issues with Ken, but the local branch doesn’t,” Cr Chambers said.
"Nationals are independent people and we can make our own decisions.
"Tammy is a remarkable human being."