Babies and bed-ridden patients beware, the political battle for Dubbo has begun.
Newly elected Nationals candidate Troy Grant announced he would take leave from work after winning a “mandate” to contest the Dubbo electorate in 2011.
About 75 Nationals turned out for the preselection on Saturday morning and installed Inspector Grant over his only opponent and fellow police officer Sergeant Robert Dunn.
The Nationals will run an intensive campaign and one that asks voters to choose a political cleanskin over high-profile incumbent Dawn Fardell at the next State election.
The party will try to persuade constituents a vote for Ms Fardell will be wasted because Insp Grant, if elected, would form part of the government when the Coalition rides to a predicted victory in 2011.
Despite predictions that The Nationals will try to cast her as a Labor lackey Insp Grant, who did not mention Ms Fardell by name, said he would run a clean campaign and labelled himself the “underdog”.
“Our current member’s a lovely lady. I respect her, I respect anybody that serves the public,” he said.
“She’s formidable. I’m going to be the underdog because she has such a firm footing in the electorate.”
He said he felt “extremely proud” and “very excited” about been endorsed.
“It is also extremely vital that the Dubbo electorate, and communities within, have a voice in the next Government and I told (The Nationals’ members) I truly believed there was going to be a change in government,” he said.
“I have a record of fixing up what’s wrong.”
But he needed to convince voters he could represent their individual needs and also “bring them something a lot greater and that’s a voice in government an actual real change and opportunities in this region”.
“The first stage of the campaign I will make sure I engage the community by that I mean go out and talk to everybody in the community.
“I will return to work Tuesday to commence a hand-over and then undertake leave.”
The Nationals’ state director Ben Franklin said he could not reveal the ballot returns but said the Dubbo branch had given Insp Grant a “mandate”.
“I think his chances (in the State election) are very good. He made it very clear he would not be running any sort of a dirty campaign it would not be personal ... he’s not someone who’s going to play any sort of personality games,” he said.
“Troy will obviously have strong views about law and order and policing and the justice system but he also talked about so many other issues.
“He’s got ideas in so many different areas but I think he’s going to be an excellent all-round representative and will be able to genuinely engage in everything from education to agriculture.”