Daniel Wills | The Advertiser
MAVERICK SA Liberal Andrew McLachlan will attempt to make the leap to Federal Parliament and is expected to nominate for a Senate run as early as today.
The Liberal Party is currently seeking candidates to replace the outgoing former senator Cory Bernardi, as nominations close on Monday ahead of a February vote.
Mr McLachlan, a former lawyer and financial services executive, is currently the SA Upper House President and set to make way early in the new year under an internal party deal.
He made waves in 2017 by splitting with Liberal colleagues to vote against “oppressive” anti-bikie laws.
He warned: “In a democracy that values the rule of law, it is for the courts to decide guilt upon the prosecution proving their case beyond reasonable doubt.”
Mr McLachlan is considered factionally unaligned, with backers in both the conservative and moderate wings.
Senior party sources told The Advertiser Mr McLachlan has a strong chance of success, and is able to appeal to most moderates and elements of the centre and right.
They also believe his veteran status, which has included time in Afghanistan, and background in financial ethics are strong selling points.
Mr McLachlan declined to comment yesterday.
His main competition is expected to be experienced lawyer Morry Bailes, who had been an early favourite in the race and is strongly aligned to the conservatives.
Mr McLachlan’s backers believe Mr Bailes is divisive and may struggle to achieve consensus support.
Conservative stalwart Michael van Dissel is also expected to run for the spot, splitting that vote.
If Mr McLachlan were to make the jump, that would open up an SA Upper House spot to be filled.