Prentice ousting has ‘no bearing’ on state Liberals: Page

Liberal Party state president Geoff Page
Liberal Party state president Geoff Page

Liberal Party state president Geoff Page says he is not concerned that women will leave the party in Tasmania after a pre-selection controversy in Queensland.

Assistant Minister for Social Services Jane Prentice suffered a convincing defeat to a male candidate in a pre-selection battle for the seat of Ryan – which she has held since 2010 – meaning she will not be standing for that seat at the next federal election.

Reports have swirled that the decision has so angered some women in the party that they are threatening to quit.

But Mr Page said he did not think Ms Prentice’s defeat had “any bearing on us locally whatsoever”.

He said he had received expressions of interest from prospective female Liberal candidates seeking to run in the federal election.

“I’ve had discussions with several prospective female candidates as well,” Mr Page said.

“So we’re looking forward to pre-selecting several women for the positions within that pre-selection process.”

However, Mr Page added that the Tasmanian Liberals would pre-select based on merit, not on gender.

“But there is a need for us, I think, to put that strong emphasis on women in the party and around our party to really come forward for this election because we’d be looking to pre-select them,” he said.