The Liberal Party is set to endorse a woman to contest the seat of Lyons at this year’s federal election.
It is believed the party will endorse newly elected Brighton councillor Jessica Whelan.
Ms Whelan, 34, of Brighton was tight-lipped when contacted by The Examiner on Tuesday and declined to comment.
She is a property developer and farmer and has two young children.
The party has called for nominations for the sprawling electorate which was won by Labor’s Brian Mitchell in 2016.
It will announce the successful candidate on February 2 – the same day the party will reveal who it will recommend fills the casual Senate vacancy caused by the early retirement of Senator David Bushby.
Senator Bushby retired on Monday. He has been nominated as Australia’s next Consul-General in Chicago.
However, his new job may be short-lived.
Labor has refused to support his promotion.
Labor’s Disability and Carer’s spokeswoman Senator Carol Brown said “we’re not guaranteeing” any appointments made by the government.
“We will be assessing appointments on their merits,” Senator Brown said.
“It says something about the Coalition’s priorities that their focus is appointing mates to diplomatic and government jobs ahead of the election.”
Senator Eric Abetz said it would be “exceptionally mean spirited” of Labor to reject the appointment.
“Senator Bushby is highly qualified and capable with his background in law and economics,” Senator Abetz said.
“He has extensive experience in government relations and lobbying business and dealing with constituent inquiries.”
Senator Bushby’s sister Wendy Summers is considered to have a good chance of replacing him but the spot will be hotly contested.
One Liberal source said it was “shaping up to be a Melbourne Cup size field of candidates”.
Break O’Day Councillor John Tucker is considered a strong chance if he nominates.
Mr Tucker has previously stood for the Senate and as a candidate for Lyons in the state election.