PARLIAMENTARY veteran and member for Murray Valley, Ken Jasper is set to announce this afternoon his retirement from politics at next year’s Victorian election.
Mr Jasper will be joined by Nationals’ leader Peter Ryan at the Wangaratta Club at 12.15pm for “an announcement regarding Murray Valley”.
While Mr Jasper would not confirm yesterday that the announcement concerned his pending retirement, he did say “you can read between the lines” regarding the alert that was circulated to media about today’s visit by Mr Ryan.
He said the visit would also include meetings with Wangaratta Council and Wangaratta Unlimited, and a visit to the city’s new performing arts centre.
These events were before a major party dinner was held tonight at Cobram.
Mr Jasper yesterday proudly boasted his 34-year career in Parliament and 10 election victories, which were capped off with a clean sweep of all 29 polling booths in Murray Valley and 52 per cent of the primary vote at the November 2006 poll.
His absolute majority at the 2006 election answered his opponents, including Liberal candidate Nick McHugh.
Mr McHugh had labelled Mr Jasper as too old and having played one too many seasons.
Mr Jasper, who turned 71 in June, was yesterday critical of the extent of Liberal resources wasted in contesting Murray Valley against him in 2006.
He argued that there should be no three-cornered contests in any of the nine seats that the Nationals hold in Victoria.
Mr Jasper celebrated 30 years in Parliament in 2006.
He recalled at the time he had never missed a day in Parliament through illness.
At the time, Mr Jasper said the arrival of natural gas to the region and new or renovated schools, hospitals, police stations were high on his list of achievements.
Announcing his intention to fight the 2006 election, Mr Jasper said he had never sought higher office.
Mr Jasper entered the family automotive business at Rutherglen and completed an apprenticeship as a motor mechanic and spray painter while pursuing an early interest in the Country Party.
Editorial — page 16