THE sitting MP for Nepean, Labor’s Chris Brayne, says his Liberal opponent Sam Groth “has a very shallow understanding of this community [if he] believes that he should represent [the community] just because he has a holiday house on the peninsula”.
“I grew up on the peninsula, I went to kindergarten, primary school and high school here, my first casual job was here and, in an area like [this] being a local matters,” Mr Brayne said.
In October 2020, Mr Groth featured in the real estate reports when his family home in Alphington went on the market and, in July 2021, when he was quoted as saying they were living in Mont Albert North but would “love something close to water in the long run”.
On the Liberal Party’s website, Mr Groth says “Nepean is the place that my wife and I have chosen to raise our twin boys…”. It was “his mission” to make Nepean “the best place to live in Victoria”.
Mr Groth did not respond to an email or phone calls from The News.
Mr Groth was selected to be the Liberals’ candidate for Nepean after being granted a special dispensation to stand by the party’s administrative committee because he had been a member for less than one year.
However, his candidature received backing from several influential Liberals, including federal Treasurer Josh Frydenberg, state opposition leader Matthew Guy and former premier Jeff Kennett.
In the final ballot Mr Groth, a former professional tennis player and now TV sports commentator, received 74 votes, ahead of David Burgess (33 votes) and former Bentleigh MP Elizabeth Miller (four votes).
Mr Brayne’s surprise victory in Nepean for Labor in 2018, followed the retirement after 20 years of Liberal Martin Dixon.
Mr Dixon had held the seat with what seemed a healthy 7 per cent margin, but Mr Brayne was able to turn that around, winning by a slender 1.82 per cent.