THE Voices of Mornington Peninsula group is again searching for a candidate to contest the seat of Flinders in the coming federal election.
Outdoor meetings will be held this week in Balnarring, Dromana and Rye to replace Claire Boardman who has resigned as the group’s chosen candidate.
Ms Boardman said that staying in her job as the state government’s deputy public health commander for COVID was “the strongest contribution I can make to community”.
Her choice to stand down as the VMP candidate leaves three formal candidates for Flinders: the Liberal Party’s Zoe McKenzie, Labor’s Surbhi Snowball and independent Despi O’Connor. Ms O’Connor has taken leave of absence from her role as a Briars Ward councillor to contest the election which is now expected to be held in May.
Along with another former councillor and mayor, Sam Hearn, Ms O’Connor was one of the final three candidates considered by the VMP. She was criticised by some of the group’s members for announcing she would be an independent candidate before it publicly announced its backing for Ms Boardman.
Mr Hunt made it known that he favoured Ms McKenzie to replace him in the seat he has held for 20 years.
Ms McKenzie is a former adviser to former trade minister Andrew Robb, an NBN director and former board member of lobby group Committee for Mornington Peninsula.
The VMP board last week said it was disappointed to announce that Ms Boardman had decided not to stand.
“With the rising Omicron numbers, and the pressure this is having on our public hospital system, Claire believes her strongest contribution is to continue in her current role,” the board stated.
“While this isn’t the start to 2022 that we were expecting, let’s use it as an opportunity to get together and re-group.
“Over the next week, we will host a series of outdoor meetings for VMP members in Balnarring, Dromana and Rye.”
“My decision … comes with huge disappointment. My commitment to community hasn’t changed but the circumstances around my candidacy have,” Ms Boardman said.
“Given this, I believe I can better support the community in the Victorian Department of Health, working with all three levels of government to help Australians through these very fragile times.
“My values remain unchanged. I value the importance of moving away from the old party system to elect a truly independent community representative. I believe in the value of the Voices process, empowering the community to choose the candidate they believe will best represent their issues.”