THREE Liberal Party members have entered the race for Bendigo’s federal seat, while a former candidate has ruled out a tilt.
Craig Hunter, who represented the Liberals at the last election, yesterday told the Bendigo Advertiser he would not seek pre-selection for next year’s election.
He said he had sold a 50 per cent stake in his company, Objectify Services, to a BRW top 10 wealthiest individual.
Mr Hunter said he had agreed to a three-year “golden handcuff” agreement that would keep him with the company.
He said he had informed the Liberal Party of the sale and that he would not seek pre-selection.
“It is very exciting,” Mr Hunter said of the sale.
“It has only happened in the last few weeks.”
Mr Hunter’s announcement came as Liberal Party members started to declare their hands.
Lyons Constructions’ Jack Lyons told the Bendigo Advertiser he had applied for pre-selection, which opened at the weekend.
“All I can say is my name is Jack Lyons, I am 40 years old and I am running for pre-selection,” he said.
Pre-selection rules prevent candidates from speaking publicly about the process.
Mr Lyons is the son of City of Greater Bendigo councillor Barry Lyons, who will re-contest local government elections later this year.
Business owner and teacher Peter Wiseman also confirmed he would seek the party’s endorsement. “I will be a candidate for pre-selection,” he said.
Transport business owner Greg Bickley will also nominate. The Goornong resident refused to comment on his nomination until applications closed on July 18.
Kangaroo Flat resident and Liberal state administrative committee member Chris Earl yesterday ruled out a tilt.
Mr Earl also ruled out contesting City of Greater Bendigo elections, which are in October.
“There will always be speculation,” he said. “But I am happy to say I will not be a candidate for pre-selection.”
Former Bendigo East state Liberal candidate Michael Langdon, who ran against Labor’s Jacinta Allan in 2010, yesterday all but ruled himself out of pre-selection.
Dr Langdon said he was busy enough splitting his time as chief executive of Bendigo Access Employment and as Bendigo Health’s chairman.
Former Bendigo West state Liberal candidate Anita Donlon earlier this week failed to rule out another tilt at politics.
She said she was committed to bringing down the Labor government and Prime Minister Julia Gillard.
Ms Donlon is the spokeswoman for the Australian Consumers and Taxpayers Association, a group that is leading a vocal campaign against the carbon tax.
“(The carbon tax) is just going to ruin our economy, what is this stupid woman thinking?” she said.
The Nationals called for expressions of interest for pre-selection earlier this year. Labor is yet to call for nominations, but Bendigo lawyer Greg Westbrook has confirmed he will nominate. Union official Lisa Chesters is also expected to nominate.
The Bendigo Advertiser understands the party mem-
bers were in discussions with a possible third candidate.