Well, whaddya know? Bruce Baird pushed his luck! If you dropped by the NSW Liberal Party’s website yesterday afternoon, you would have seen a note from state director Graham Jaeschke saying that nominations for all Liberal-held seats of the House of Representatives have been extended to 30 April.
Last week Crikey reported how the party faithful were told only on Wednesday that nominations for the Reps and Senate had been opened on 5 April and would close at midday on Monday, 16 April, leaving potential candidates only three working-days to find people to nominate them and fix the paperwork.
Crikey understands that the Prime Minister encouraged this tight schedule — but somebody had to come along and spoil it for everyone. Bruce Baird.
Now, there’s not only speculation of a wider field in Cook, the seat being vacated by the 65-year-old Baird. There’s also a feeling that Alan Cadman, 70 this year and an MP since 1974, has had a good run in Mitchell and should move on. The same applies with Philip Ruddock — 64 and also an MP since 1974 — and Bronwyn Bishop, 65 this year and a parliamentarian since 1987.
Will there be movement at the station now that the period for nominations has been widened? That’s anyone’s guess at the moment, although the rumours are flying thick and fast. Jaeschke, conveniently, is overseas until the end of the month. But it’s worthwhile looking at the electoral geography of all of this.
Baird’s seat is in Sydney’s south. All the others are on the other side of the harbour, close to Bennelong, MP John Howard, 68 this year, and an MP since 1974. There’s already an interesting enough dynamic around that seat.
Thanks to a few of his colleagues hanging on past their use-by-dates — Bishop and Cadman in particular — the Prime Minister could also find himself caught up in a mood for change sweeping the neighbourhood.