Bendigo nationals run after 15-year gap

A 25-year-old marketing manager will run as the Nationals candidate for Bendigo in the upcoming federal election. 

Mandurang resident Sarah Sheedy was endorsed by the party on Saturday. 

She will be the first Nationals candidate to contest the seat in 15 years. 

“I’m very excited and very thrilled and proud to be a voice for the Nationals party here in Bendigo,” she said. 

“We’re looking forward to rolling up our sleeves and getting in and having a go and being a voice for the region. 

“We’re also committed to getting Australia back on track with the budget.”

Ms Sheedy, who grew up in Bendigo, said she was not keen to answer questions on specific issues or policies yet, but said they would be addressed in future. 

“The Nationals want to abolish the world’s largest carbon tax, scrap the mining tax and ensure border security,” she said. 

“We want to get Australia back on track and under control with the budget and Labor’s debt, and support regional industries.

“I see my age as a benefit. 

“Organisations have been saying ‘where are the young people?’ 

“My answer is I’m here, I’m ready, I’m fresh, I want to listen and hear what the people of Bendigo have to say.” 

Victorian Nationals president Peter Schwarz said the La Trobe University graduate had “shining enthusiasm” for her community. 

Member for Northern Victoria Damian Drum said she would provide an alternative for voters who didn’t want to vote for Julia Gillard or Tony Abbott. 

“I think she’s going to offer voters a fantastic and credible alternative,” he said. 

“She’s a very self-motivated young lady who has already achieved much in her 25 years.

“I think there are going to be literally thousands of voters who will simply not be able to vote for Julia Gillard. 

“And many of these voters may not feel comfortable voting for Tony Abbott. 

“And we therefore suggest that the Nationals through Warren Truss and through Sarah Sheedy will give many people in the Bendigo electorate the choice they are looking for.”

Ms Sheedy was preselected over Huntly sales executive Brad Kennedy. 

Mr Drum said both had been “first class” candidates. 

The party’s last candidate, Scott Mitchell, received about 3.2 per cent of the primary vote in the 1998 election, which placed him fifth behind the Democrats, One Nation and the two major parties.

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