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17 Aug 2019

Off the Record | The Advertiser

With Michael McGuire & Paul Starick | The Advertiser

Form an orderly queue, please: Cory’s seat up for grabs

It’s only three months on from Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s unexpected election victory, but already talk about Senate preselection is swirling around.

Most of that is courtesy of Liberal-turned Australian Conservatives-turned independent Senator Cory Bernardi, who is considering his future after deregistering the party he founded.

Liberal sources say Bernardi is likely to retire before the 2022 federal election, which would mean the Liberal Party would get to appoint a replacement to fill the casual vacancy.

There’s a queue of contenders lining up to not only replace Bernardi, but also fill the winnable number three spot on the Senate ticket.

That same spot was enough to get Alex Antic elected at this year’s Federal Election.

The field is dominated by women, headlined by two time election loser Georgina Downer.

Other hopefuls include moderates Clementina Maione and Cara Miller – both party vice presidents hopeful of receiving another term at today’s SA Liberal Party annual general meeting. Grain Producers SA chief executive Caroline Rhodes, pictured, Tindall Gask Bentley managing partner Morry Bailes, lawyer and federal Young Liberals vice president Jocelyn Sutcliffe and Riverland vet Nicola Centofanti – all from the party’s right faction – are other names doing the rounds.

Off The Record also heard rumours swirling that state Upper House President Andrew McLachlan could switch from North Tce to Canberra, but sources say it’s likely he will secure another eight-year term in State Parliament.

There’s still plenty of time to go but tomorrow’s vice-president election will go a long way towards shaping the contest.

If the Right wins three of the four positions, they’ll have a majority of the spots on the party’s state executive.

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