The Victorian Liberal Party has preselected IPA staffer James Paterson for the top spot in the Victorian Senate ticket — and Paterson indicated this morning he would be taking over the vacant seat left by retiring Senator Michael Ronaldson before the election is held. Paterson, who is 28, won 210 to 188, claiming victory over Michael Kroger-backed superannuation policy adviser Jane Hume. It was somewhat surprising, although one Liberal source reminded Crikey that powerbroker Kroger doesn’t control the whole party. We’re told Paterson is personable and popular and a large contingent of friends in the party are looking out for him. This morning on the ABC with Jon Faine, Paterson named repealing section 18C of the Racial Discrimination Act as one of the major areas of policy that he was passionate about — unsurprising for a member of the IPA. Paterson’s age and CV are areas in which he has been criticised — his short career so far has included being a staffer to Communications Minister Mitch Fifield, the Victorian Employers’ Chmaber of Commerce and Industry and rising through the ranks of the IPA. When asked by Faine if he had ever had a job outside politics, Paterson quickly said “yes, my first job was at a $2 shop, and my second job was at Myer”. We wonder if he sold unicorns.

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Peter Fray

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