Seat gone, but Vic Liberal wants to stay

The most high-profile victim of Victoria’s electoral boundary redistributions says she hopes to remain in parliament despite her seat being abolished.


Liberal frontbencher Mary Wooldridge will lose her seat of Doncaster while the northern Victorian seat of Rodney, held by the Nationals, will also go.

Ms Wooldridge said she hopes to remain in parliament.

“I want to continue as a member of the Napthine government after the next election and am confident that a suitable opportunity will be found,” she said in a statement on Thursday.

In a major shake-up of electoral boundaries, 15 seats will be abolished or have their names changed.

The changes will even up the number of electors in each seat and are the result of a growing population in Melbourne and shrinking populations in some regional areas.

Victorian National Party leader Peter Ryan said country people are the big losers in the changes.

“This is a disappointing outcome for country Victoria in the first instance, the seat of Rodney, a National Party-held seat, has been abolished and that means one less voice in this parliament on behalf of country Victorians,” he told reporters.

Rodney MP Paul Weller said the Electoral Boundaries Commission had made its decision, despite a number of submissions from his constituents.

He would not be drawn on whether he would seek to contest another seat in the November 2014 election.

“We have got to wait for the dust to settle and we will have a look at it, see what opportunities arise,” Mr Weller told reporters.

The changes are expected to make it tougher for Labor to hold several seats including Ripon, Monbulk and Ballarat West.

Member for Ballarat West Sharon Knight said the redistribution would make her battle to retain the seat even tougher.

“I think it makes a marginal seat a bit more marginal,” she said.

Ms Knight, whose seat will now be known as Wendouree, will lose the Labor area of Sebastopol from her electorate.

Labor state secretary Noah Carroll described the redistribution as “fair across the board”.

He said all preselections would be finalised before Christmas.

Mr Carroll expects “carnage” when the Liberal and National parties field candidates against each other in country Victoria.

Liberal state director Damien Mantach said the party was analysing of the new boundaries and would have further discussions about preselections, particularly for new seats and those that have changed dramatically.

“In regards to those MPs whose seats have been abolished or dramatically redrawn, the premier, state president, state director and the administrative committee of the party will have discussions with affected MPs to determine the best course of action in relation to preselections,” he said.

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