THE Nationals have preselected Gaelle Broad, a former political staffer to deputy leader Bridget McKenzie and former Liberal treasurer Peter Costello, to run against incumbent Jacinta Allan in the state seat of Bendigo East.
Ms Broad said there was other interest but she was preselected unopposed and was now preparing to embark on the 35-week “job interview” that would lead up to the state election in November.
She is the first candidate to disclose preselection, and the first the Nationals have entered to run for Bendigo East since the 2010 election.
Ms Broad put her hand up to fill Damien Drum’s Victorian upper house seat when he decided in 2016 to enter federal politics.
Luke O’Sullivan took his position.
Ms Broad was most recently general manager of 105.1 Life FM, but says she has had political ambitions for a while.
Apart from her experience working for the coalition parties, Ms Broad also has worked in media, and business and government relations.
She has supported the Nationals since moving to Bendigo 15 years ago because she thinks the party is a better fit for central Victoria and “I think I align more with the Nationals because they offer the best from all the political parties”.
“They have economic credentials, they know how to stand up for people battling and there is also the environmental management experience that comes with the farming backgound,” Ms Broad said.
“I think they prioritise community and grassroots and that is very much where I sit.”
But she will have to claw back a 3.2 per cent margin from Ms Allan who is also deputy premier and holds the high profile public transport portfolio.
Labor, Ms Broad said, had been city-centric while in government in Victoria.
“A number of projects that have happened locally are not delivering the outcomes as promised,” she said.
She could deliver better rail options to Bendigo.
“I look and I think we have trains slower than a decade ago, we have express trains sitting behind stop-all-stations trains, no wifi that was promised and we have buses that operate more often than trains,” Ms Broad said.
“Surely we can do better on that front and that is something I would strongly advocate for.”
– Sharon Kemp