Joanna Gash silent on her political future

By Nicole Hasham
Updated November 6 2012 - 2:40am, first published October 26 2011 - 10:33am
Gilmore MP Joanna Gash in Gerringong before the last federal election, with Senator Connie Fierravanti-Wells and Tony Abbott.
Gilmore MP Joanna Gash in Gerringong before the last federal election, with Senator Connie Fierravanti-Wells and Tony Abbott.

Gilmore MP Joanna Gash has refused to confirm whether she will contest the next federal election, triggering speculation over who might succeed her in the role.Nominations for preselection in Liberal-held seats opened on Monday as the party seeks to weed out challengers and cement its line-up before the 2013 poll.There have been questions over whether the 67-year-old incumbent, who was returned last year with an increased margin, would seek a seventh term in Parliament.The Liberal stalwart said yesterday she ‘‘hadn’t given any thought’’ to whether she will recontest, despite the fact nominations close next Friday.‘‘I just want to have a look [at the situation] first … I’m not making any comment at this stage,’’ she said.Shoalhaven City Council deputy mayor Andrew Guile is considered a frontrunner for the Liberal candidacy should Mrs Gash step aside.The 42-year-old Berry resident is a former staffer to Mrs Gash, but the pair are believed to have parted ways soon after the 2004 election. In August this year, the South Coast Register published a letter from Mrs Gash in which she criticised Mr Guile and other Shoalhaven councillors for sharing a $1080 meal at an upmarket Sydney restaurant.She claimed that dinner guests discussed preselection of both state and federal candidates, ‘‘including my own preselection’’.‘‘The ratepayers of the Shoalhaven are entitled to a ‘please explain’ from Cr Guile and every councillor at that meeting as to why they paid so much for a dinner that was not solely about council issues,’’ she wrote.Mr Guile said yesterday he did not intend to stand for preselection in Gilmore, claiming that Mrs Gash had recently indicated she would seek another term.Asked about his intentions if Mrs Gash did not stand, he said: ‘‘I would consider my options.’’Mr Guile said his wife had given birth six weeks ago, and he had significant family commitments.Mrs Gash would not comment on whether she backed close Liberal associate Clive Brooks as her potential successor.Mr Brooks owns South Nowra business Great Southern Motorcycles. His business was forced to relocate last year after a fire destroyed its previous Nowra premises.Mr Brooks previously owned Telstra shops at Warrawong, Dapto and Nowra.He did not return the Mercury’s calls yesterday.

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