The Nationals dump their former leader

31 May, 2012 04:00 AM
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Former leader of Nationals WA Max Trenorden shopping for a new political career. He is considering running as an Independent for the seat of Central-Wheatbelt.
Former leader of Nationals WA Max Trenorden shopping for a new political career. He is considering running as an Independent for the seat of Central-Wheatbelt.

FORMER Nationals WA leader Max Trenorden has been dumped by the party he has been involved with for 26 years and is now considering running as an independent in the next State election.

Following the second round of pre-selection for the agriculture region, the Nationals endorsed 14 Legislative Council candidates for the March 9 election, but Mr Trenorden, 63, was not one of them.

Mr Trenorden came out feeling like he had a knife put in his back claiming his former fellow members of the party knew he was not going to be elected before the meeting, but failed to tell him.

"I have really been expelled from the National Party," Mr Trenorden said.

"I could live with not being pre-selected, if they came to me before the meeting and explained their views, but they didn't."

Mr Trenorden said he felt a lack of respect from his party colleagues and said former chief of staff to federal MP Tony Crook, Martin Aldridge, was behind the move.

Mr Aldridge said he had previously spoken to Mr Trenorden and warned him of his intentions.

"I give him (Mr Aldridge) credit because he at least came and told me he was going to do it," Mr Trenorden said.

"But I thought I would have the support of my colleagues.

"And at that time not one of them stood up and defended me."

Mr Trenorden said if he had lost the support of Nationals party leader Brendon Grylls, Mr Grylls should have spoken to him before the meeting.

"Every political party has the right to select who ever they like as they see fit, and I can't argue against that," he said. "But they could have given the respect and told me don't come in here don't put your name up because you are not going to win.

"That was the minimum they could have done."

He said his next best option would be to run as an independent in the seat of Central-Wheatbelt.

If he did choose to pursue the Nationals' spiritual seat of the Central-Wheatbelt, it would raise serious questions over the stability of the Nationals in the upcoming election, with newcomer Mia Davies set to run for the seat.

Sitting member Brendon Grylls has relinquished the seat, gambling on winning the seat of Pilbara while Agriculture and Food Minister Terry Redman is up against Independent Wendy Newman.

Mr Trenorden said he had no fears about running against his life-long friend if he chooses to do so.

"Ms Davies didn't bother to tell me this was coming," he said. "I have been rejected by the party, not by my constituents.

"I would be very happy to run for the seat of Central-Wheatbelt and if I get beaten I get beaten by my constituents and that I can live with."

Mr Trenorden has until the end of the year to decide if he wants to contest the seat, but Nationals WA president Colin Holt said he would prefer not to see him compete against Ms Davies as he has been a strong supporter of hers for a long time.

Mr Holt said Mr Trenorden had been of great service to the Nationals and proven himself as a strong voice for regional WA.

Other pre-selected candidates for the mining and pastoral seats include current State director and Carnarvon local Jacqui Boydell, Kalgoorlie police officer and deputy president of The Nationals WA Dave Grills and former journalist and Broome resident John McCourt.

The team was rounded out by David Eagles (Esperance), Adrian Hatwell (Port Hedland) and Young National Cale Hill (Esperance).

In the Agricultural Region, Gingin resident and former chief of staff to Federal MP Tony Crook, Martin Aldridge and current member of the Legislative Council Philip Gardiner, will lead the ticket. They will be supported by Paul Brown (Clackline), Jill Sounness (Narrogin), Cathy Bowen (Jennacubbine) and Rosalba Butterworth (Beverley).

Mr Holt said the candidates joined those that were pre-selected earlier this month for the Legislative Assembly and added depth and breadth to the team seeking to retain balance of power and stewardship of Royalties for Regions.

State President and current Member for the South West Region Colin Holt will lead the South West ticket, with Albany local and president of The Young Nationals, Sam Harma, in second position.

The remaining positions on the South West ticket will be completed over the coming months.

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