LABOR says its election chances for Hume are strong despite the party yet to call nominations for a candidate.
“Several” individuals have expressed their interest in running against Liberal candidate Angus Taylor but the formal pre-selection process might not even start for another month.
NSW Country organiser for Labor Courtney Roche said the party isn’t worried that other candidates have already gained considerable traction in the seat to be vacated by retiring Liberal Alby Schultz.
“It’s not going to hurt us,” she said.
“The election is still more than 200 days away and there’s quite a period of time to field a candidate.
“We’re not rushing this process. We want the best candidate and that process will take time.”
Ms Roche said the party’s administrative committee would engage the formal preselection process next month.
“We held an expression of interest for the seat last year and heard from several persons who indicated they would be very keen to contest Hume,” she said.
“We were encouraged by that and look forward to the calling of nominations very soon.”
When asked if any potential candidates were local (Goulburn or Yass), Ms Roche said she was unable to “preempt that”.
She denied that Labor would be disadvantaged at the September 14 poll because of Mr Taylor’s highprofile head start on the campaign trail.
In a media statement released last Tuesday, Mr Taylor said he spent the Saturday following the election announcement in Goulburn door-knocking several hundred homes with a local Liberal support group.
“The Liberal candidate has a personal wealth that allows him to campaign full time,” Ms Roche said.
“There is of course nothing wrong with that, but we don’t have a potential candidate who can stop work for six months or more; they just simply could not afford to.”
She said Labor was buoyed by the support it had in Hume and in Goulburn.
With Mr Taylor, Katter Australia Party’s Bruce Nicholson, independent James Harker-Mortlock and Christian Democrat Adrian Van Der Byl already on the Hume hustings, Ms Roche believed thousands of voters in the electorate were far from making their minds up.
“We’ll have a strong presence in Hume in the lead up to the election. The candidate will have much to offer,” she said.