MacDonald considers tilt at Maitland
Outgoing Parliamentary Secretary for Hunter Scot MacDonald has not ruled at run at the seat of Maitland, after losing the upper house preselection ballot earlier this month.
Mr MacDonald lost to fellow upper house member Catherine Cusack 23 votes to 18 on November 10, and will finish in his position on March 1, 2019.
Both have served in the local Parliamentary Secretary role. Mr MacDonald took on the position in April 2015 and was replaced by Ms Cusack in January 2017, who was forced to resign six weeks later after sending an email to Premier Gladys Berejikilian criticising the new ministerial lineup. The position was handed back to Mr MacDonald the following April.
Mr MacDonald said he was approached about a local lower house seat almost immediately after his loss.
“The calls started straight away and that’s good, that people think I might be able to have a competitive go at a seat,” he said.
“It’s been suggested to me – running in Newcastle, running in Maitland – and I don’t want to rule anything in or out.
“I’m not trying to sound coy, I just haven’t made up my mind.”
He said he expects to have made a decision by mid-January, after he returns from a break.
With just under four months until the election, the Liberal party is yet to secure a candidate to run against Labor’s Jenny Aitchison.
Along with Maitland, in the Lower Hunter Labor currently holds Newcastle, Charlestown, Cessnock and Port Stephens. A Coalition candidate has only been announced for Port Stephens.
“I’d like to see competition in all the Hunter seats,” Mr MacDonald said.
“When it’s just a one horse race I think the communities and regions probably don’t get the love and attention that they might from a government.
“[Competition] means the leadership of parties don’t take places for granted so I’ll be doing anything I think I can do along those lines, whether that’s me in the breach or someone else.”